‘Learn to Earn’ restaurant training initiative launched
A youth training initiative has been launched — but the minister responsible was unable to say how much it would cost the taxpayer.
It was announced late last night that it would cost up to $75,200.
Jason Hayward, the Economy and Labour Minister, said the Learn to Earn scheme would help 16 young people to gain work experience in the hospitality industry.
Asked at a press conference what the cost of the scheme would be, Mr Hayward said: “I don’t have that figure with me at the moment.
“It is not being paid all by the private sector. I will certainly be in a position to share the entire cost of the programme at the conclusion of the programme.
“Certainly, the scheme has been budgeted for. We certainly have funds to run the programme. I don’t have the figure.”
More than 11 hours after the press conference, a government spokesperson got back to The Royal Gazette stating the scheme’s cost would be $75,200.
The spokesperson said: “The estimated total cost is $4,700 per participant. This includes the cost of the course at Bermuda College and the stipend.”
There were also no figures on how many participants in previous Learn to Earn initiatives had stayed in the hospitality industry.
And the minister said it was “not necessarily an indictment” of the PLP’s record in education that some employers complained that trainees lacked basic skills.
Mr Hayward said: “Not necessarily an indictment. What we did is recognise the problem and we now have a permanent feature within our education system to address ... employability skills.
“We recognise that there is a gap in that particular area for some of our young people.
“And, so, I don’t want to categorise all of our young people as being unemployable for not possessing those skills. I don’t want to paint the brush across all our young people that they don’t have employability skills.
“But we recognise that there is a gap and we are certainly trying to fill those gaps.”
Referring to the Learn to Earn initiative, Mr Hayward said: “This public-private partnership collaboration is funded by independent restaurant operators, the Department of Workforce Development, the Bermuda College and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
“It is part of the Government’s plan to reduce youth unemployment by attracting inexperienced job seekers into the tourism industry and giving them hands-on experience, plus international and entry-level certification.
“It will train them for careers in the food-and-beverage industry.
“The chosen participants will undertake skills development courses, followed by paid on-the-job training opportunities.
“Entry-specific skills training towards certifications give participants experience as baristas, food handlers, wine servers and other skills.
“Young Bermudians between the ages of 18 and 26 interested in a career in food and beverage are invited to apply.”
The companies taking part in the scheme are Take Five, Devil’s Isle, Village Pantry, Buzz Cafés, the Yellowfin Group, Astwood Arms, Bistro J, Café TEN, Pearl, Port O Call, Yours Truly, Island Restaurant Group, Barracuda Grill, Brew, Hog Penny Pub, Pickled Onion, Frog & Onion, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and the Huckleberry Restaurant.