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Economic frustrations evident as hundreds attend jobs fair

Unemployed people spelled out their frustration at Bermuda’s economic reality as they packed out the 2012 Hospitality Job Fair yesterday.

Hundreds of jobseekers, from teenagers to seniors, visited the Fairmont Hamilton Princess for the day-long event organised by Government and Bermuda Hotel Association.

Among the 600 jobs up for grabs were porters, chefs, front desk and houseman work at The Reefs, Fairmont Southampton and Elbow Beach.

The positions are for the 2012 tourist season, with interested individuals now beginning a lengthy application process.

Numerous attendees told

The Royal Gazette of their job-hunting difficulties over the past couple of years, as the unemployment rate has soared from three percent in 2000 to an estimated eight percent now.

Mother-of-two Lady Scraders, says she has been out of work since June and is hunting for employment as a chef. Her five-year-old son is autistic so she needs to spend $60 a week on special diapers; her husband’s security job brings in barely enough money for the family to survive.

“It’s really stressful being out of work trying to raise a five-year-old boy. It’s been a struggle for my family,” she said.

“I’m hoping to get a job as a chef. I can specialise in Jamaican and Bermudian food so hopefully I will get some work now.

“But there’s a lot of people looking for work now. It’s horrible.”

Calvin Wilson, 50, was looking for work as a kitchen porter. He said he has been unemployed for a year and has been trying to earn a living by fishing.

“I can get by, but I need to find something solid,” said Mr Wilson, of Pembroke.

His son Marcus Wilson, 19, lives with his grandmother and is reliant on income from his older brother’s job.

“I feel under threat,” said the teenager. “It’s hard to get work. I get stressed out.”

Father Calvin said: “It’s more difficult for Marcus than it was for me at that age because times are hard now, cost of rent is high, the cost of living is very high in Bermuda. Back then, I could make money.”

An 18-year-old girl who has just graduated from high school pointed to a perennial problem for some young people, saying: “Because I don’t have a job, it’s harder to find a job.

“They say I need experience, but if nobody gives me a job how can I get experience? Everyone has to start somewhere.”

She said she is considering waitress and bartending opportunities.

One man attended the jobs fair in his capacity as a job developer for the Transitional Living Centre.

“They are looking to get anything they can get,” he said.

“One of the guys is a waiter so he will have a good chance. But these guys are from Westgate, so they find it even more difficult to get work at the moment.”

Zakiya Jones, 25, hasn’t had a job for two years but remains optimistic because she’s spent that time furthering her education.

“I feel confident after updating my resume this morning,” said Ms Jones, who has completed a course in business administration through Government.

She said she is applying for front desk positions available through the job fair.

One woman, in her 40s, lost her job as an administrative worker for an insurance company a year ago.

“Thank God my husband runs his own business and has been able to support me,” she said.

“The jobs available today aren’t really what people want for a career. People are looking for anything to get by and sustain themselves. I don’t see long-term career jobs here.”

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Published November 02, 2011 at 9:55 am (Updated November 02, 2011 at 9:54 am)

Economic frustrations evident as hundreds attend jobs fair

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