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‘Some jobs remain hard to fill' Minister

Economy Minister Kim Wilson said Bermudians should be applying for all job vacancies.

She told the Senate yesterday that despite the economic down turn, and lay offs that have come with it, Bermudians appear reluctant to apply for kitchen porters or maids.

She said: “Even as layoffs persist, some jobs remain hard to fill. Some of these job categories were hard to fill even before we faced recessionary conditions, however despite the downturn in the employment markets, Bermudians remain reluctant to apply.

“You have heard me repeatedly state that I am not prepared to issue work permits in circumstances where qualified, able-bodied Bermudian applicants are capable of performing the functions required for the position.

“Likewise, I am not prepared to allow local businesses to suffer due to the lack of qualified Bermudian applicants.

“That said if a business has satisfied me that they have taken all reasonable and necessary steps to hire Bermudians but to no avail, I will issue the requisite work permits so as not to cripple the business due to a lack of human resources.

“It is regrettable to have to even consider, let alone grant work permits in instances where there are unemployed Bermudians that are capable of performing the functions but for whatever reason choose not to apply for jobs.”

Sen. Wilson said as of March 31 this year there were 84 expatriates on the Island working as kitchen porters and 128 expatriates working as housekeepers. Recently she was told 13 positions for kitchen porters were advertised, but only three Bermudians applied.

“This is a disturbing result given the growing number of persons registering with Labour and Training and making application for Financial Assistance,” she added.

United Bermuda Party Senator Jeanne Atherden said over the past decade many Bermudians had decided that certain jobs, such as a kitchen porter, were beneath them.

“If you are doing a good job, getting paid and it is legal it is not beneath you,” she said.

Government Senator Laverne Furbert said she saw the other side of the story through working at the Bermuda Industrial Union.

“There are employers who don't want Bermudians,” she said. “The applications are for work permit renewals a lot of times, and the employers are encouraging Bermudians who apply not to go for the job. They are saying 'you don't want this, it is not enough money'.”

Government Senator David Burch added that people were going to have to take what they could get next year due to the economy.

“You are not going to get the perfect job in 2010 or 2011, that is just not going to happen,” he said. “You are going to have to take what you can get.

“But use the time to put yourself in a better position when things turn on.”

He added that the community should help people enroll in the Bermuda College and National Training Board now so that when Bermuda's economy picks up and better jobs are available they will be ready for it.

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Published December 23, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 23, 2010 at 7:18 am)

‘Some jobs remain hard to fill' Minister

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