Strong interest shown at landscaping job fair
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Kim Wilson yesterday implored Bermudians to consider a career outdoors as she attended a job fair for landscape gardeners.
Thirty-four local landscaping companies joined in the event in the Bermuda College gymnasium and spoke to jobseekers about vacancies and the skills required to do the job.
Senator Wilson told
The Royal Gazette: “I'm encouraged by the level of interest and the participation of some 30-odd landscaping companies.
“It looks like a number of people have come prepared. They are filling out applications, they have brought CVs. The success of the fair will be measured by how many people become employed at the end of this exercise.”
The Minister said for those who love the outdoors and working with their hands, landscape gardening was ideal.
The fair, jointly organised by the Department of Labour and Training and the Bermuda Landscaping Association (BLA), comes soon after Government extended a moratorium on work permit applications and renewals for landscapers, as well as several other occupations.
The moratorium temporarily prevents the granting of work permits and was put in place because firms seemed reluctant to hire Bermudians for some jobs, according to former Labour Minister David Burch.
But landscape company owners claimed this week the move had reduced the landscape gardening workforce by almost a third and would push up the cost of services.
Russell Richardson, from the BLA, which was set up after the moratorium was extended, said yesterday the idea for the fair came about during discussions with Sen. Wilson.
“We were talking about different ways to work together and her recommendation was to have a job fair. The benefits of an event like this are, obviously, networking, seeing who is actually looking for work and just gaining information.
“If we need staff and we don't know who is out there, it is better to know what's available.”
He said landscaping was an area Bermudians were likely to get into more and more if jobs in other sectors continued to be scarce.
“We want people to consider it a viable option. The benefits are you can become your own boss very easily and if you enjoy working outdoors there is no better job than that.”
Those attending yesterday's four-hour fair were invited to fill in application forms and chat with employers.
Acting Labour and Training director Pandora Glasford said about 85 people came through the gymnasium doors in the first 45 minutes alone.
“We know it won't be as many as the hospitality fair because with that you have a broader range of areas that you can seek work in,” she said.
“With landscaping it's not as many, but everybody here has vacancies. Some will be in more specialised areas and some will be more basic. But all have jobs.”
Job-seeker Troy Robinson, 43, a landscape gardener by trade, said he recently lost his job in the construction industry. “I have two children to feed just like everybody else round here,” he said. “It's hard. I like to get up every morning and go to work and every week, at the end of the week, you receive a pay cheque.”
Several inmates from the Prison Farm attended, looking to find jobs as part of a work release programme.
One of them was Clinton Smith, 34, who said he hoped to be able to impress an employer enough to find immediate work.