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New jobs initiatives set to be launched

Government is preparing to launch series of short and medium term initiatives involving training, job placement and back to work programmes, Economy Minister Kim Wilson told the Senate this morning. She was speaking after giving a detailed breakdown of result from the Unemployment Registration Drive from Tuesday, June 21 to Friday, July 1 when 1,081 people registered. (See the full speech at the end of the this story.) Ninety-six percent of unemployed people on the Island are Bermudian, Economy Minister Kim Wilson told the Senate. The Minister told the Senate that 741 people, or 69 percent were unemployed 594 of this group were black, while white registrants accounted for 11 percent or 80 people. Ninety-six percent of those seeking jobs were Bermudian. The average age of those unemployed was 38 but men registrants were slightly older than their female counterparts with a median age of 39 years compared to 38 for women. Ms Wilson told the Senate: “The study revealed that a number of persons are in fact working but consider themselves unemployed. This group has been classified as “underemployed” and represents 28 percent of the respondents or a total of 308 persons. “Of this group, 11 percent are “working but looking for work in a specific filed” and 17 percent are “working but looking for more work”. “Underemployment exists when a worker is employed, but desires more work than that which is available to him or her. The term also includes working persons who aspire to work in a field that they do not currently work in.” She said underemployment existed for two main reasons. I. The income earned from the job held is usually not sufficient to maintain the standard of living that a worker has become accustomed to, hence the need to secure extra income; and ii. Available employment options may have limited a person to work for a lower wage or salary in a specific field. “Certainly, initiatives such as the moratorium on work permits are proving useful in terms of providing employment opportunities for persons seeking employment. Also, I continue to encourage employers to do their part and to favourably consider applicants that may once have been deemed “over qualified” for particular jobs. Certainly a seasoned professional, seeking an opportunity to return to the trenches and making an application, is worthy of consideration in today’s job market. “Madam President, the largest proportion of unemployed persons, 46 percent, or 494 people, reported senior secondary school as the highest level of schooling ever attended, while 21 percent or 224 unemployed persons reported a two-year college as the highest level of schooling ever attended and seventeen percent or 189 persons reported having attended three or more years of University.” The majority of the unemployed persons reported that their last jobs were in: * construction; * retail trade/repair services; * public administration; * transport/communication; * financial intermediation; and * business services. “It is important that the people of Bermuda know that the information gathered during the Unemployment Registration Drive will be used on multiple levels registered persons will be offered job search assistance and a strategic plan, with sustainable and long-term solutions to meet the training and job placement needs of the people of Bermuda will be produced. “Despite the extended periods of time that persons are finding themselves unemployed, it is important that unemployed persons make application for available jobs. I cannot stress this point enough. Please know that during times such these we must continue to persevere. “In the interim, I and some of my colleagues are preparing to launch a series of short and medium term initiatives involving training, job placement and “back to work” programmes very soon. I trust that these programmes will provide an added incentive and much need reprieve to those seeking a short-term income boost.”