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Fewer tradespeople registered as unemployed

(Photo by Nicola Muirhead)Michael Fahy, Minister of Home Affairs

At the start of this year there were fewer tradespeople registered unemployed in Bermuda across six specific occupations than in either of the previous two years.

As a group, the number of masons, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tilers, chefs de rang and waiters registered as out of work fell from 92 to 51 between January 2013 and the beginning of this year.

Those statistics were revealed by Michael Fahy, Minister of Home Affairs, in response to a question from Progressive Labour Party Senator Diallo Rabain in the Senate.

The number of work permits issued to plumbers, carpenters and waiters increased between January 2013 and January 2015, while the number of work permits for masons, electricians, tilers and Chefs de Rang decreased over the same period.

“Increasing the number of work permits issued in certain categories demonstrates an increase in economic activity,” said Mr Fahy.

“We should never undervalue the importance of having an increasing number of people on the Island. More people equates to more money circulating on the Island with more use of services which, in turn, equates to a boost on our economy.”

Sen Rabain also asked how many training programmes were in place for the seven trades he listed in his question.

Mr Fahy noted that there was not a corresponding training programme for all the trades mentioned. As an example, the Bermuda College has not run a carpentry course for a number of years.

“The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) works closely with the Bermuda College to assist with the facilitation of training programmes,” he said.

“The training section's role with DWD is generally to coordinate educational opportunities that align with the needs of the labour marketplace.

“Programmes requiring accelerated curriculum, like the drywall certification programme in Atlanta in 2012, are primarily driven by industry to assist with an immediate need.”

He added: “Additionally, the Department has found success in studying the Labour Survey that is distributed by the Department of Statistics to identify where there are possible opportunities as a result of work permit issuances. An example of this is the Butcher Programme in the UK in 2013.”

Mr Fahy presented some highlights of the training programmes supported by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which showed that the number of trade graduates has increased from 14, in 2013, to 15 in 2015. While the number of hospitality graduates has increased from five to 13 during the same period.