Job programme rejection stuns man
A Southampton man was left stunned after being told he was “learning challenged” and could not join a job programme aimed at recruiting local workers.
“It wreaks havoc on your self-confidence,” said applicant Eugene DeRosa, who is questioning why he was denied a place on the Department of Labour and Training's waiter-server programme.
The work scheme was launched by Government in November, in partnership with the Bermuda Hotel Association and the Chamber of Commerce's restaurant division, to replace 100 waiter-server work permit positions with qualified Bermudians.
The four-week training programme is free, but applicants must be vetted before acceptance.
However, Mr DeRosa said he has no idea how the Department employee formed the decision about his learning ability, and has been unable to get a response as to why he was turned down.
No hospitality experience is necessary for the waiter-server programme, but Mr DeRosa said he worked from March 2006 to August 2007 at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel.
“After six months I was promoted to head house person,” he said. “I also worked as a night cleaner.” He showed a service award he received from the hotel in September 2006.
Currently studying at the Bermuda Insurance Institute, Mr DeRosa said he had been attracted to the waiter-server programme as a means to gain a job and a new qualification.
“I did orientation for the course right after I signed up,” he said. “I didn't hear back for a pretty long time, and then I got a call to go to orientation. I said I'd gone to that already and I wanted to know what my status was. The woman who spoke to me was very nice, but she came back on the phone and told me I hadn't been selected. Then she came back and said I hadn't been selected because I was learning challenged.
“I said what? Are you serious? I just finished taking courses in underwriting.”
Describing himself as “shocked and discouraged”, he said he had taken his complaint to the Ombudsman for Bermuda at the start of the year, but had been told his case did not fall under their jurisdiction. Repeated calls to both the Department of Labour and Training and the National Training Board have not produced an explanation, he said.
“It's damning to think I could have something like that on my record,” Mr DeRosa said, adding: “I don't know how they came up with it. When was I ever tested for that?”
Describing himself as 40 years old but someone who “still has energy and doesn't smoke or drink”, Mr DeRosa said: “I would still take the course. Getting that certification, that's my ace in the hole.”
This morning a Government spokeswoman said: “As a matter of protocol, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry does not speak to specific client matters, however the Ministry can confirm that there is an application process in place regarding the Waiter/Server programme which includes registration, orientation, training and an ultimately an interview. Not all applicants are automatically accepted into this programme.
“Once participants have been accepted into the programme, and upon successful completion, applicants are guaranteed employment. Overall, there has been good feedback to the Ministry's Waiter/Server initiative.
"Wherein an applicant is unsuccessful, the Department of Labour and Training will continue to work with the applicant to provide training and job placement services. The Ministry will undertake to review this particular case to ensure that in moving forward, all interested persons have a positive experience.”