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National training plan on the way

Work on developing a national training plan for Bermuda is to start in the very near future, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy announced yesterday.

A newly reconstituted National Training Board led by Government backbencher Jeff Sousa will spearhead the plan’s development.

“The importance of undertaking national planning for a sustainable workforce in Bermuda is an urgent priority for the Government as, based on the unemployment data, we must work to ‘upskill’ the people of Bermuda in an effort to improve Bermuda’s competitive position in the delivery of products and services to both local and global markets,” Sen Fahy said.

“Historically, workforce planning in Bermuda has been hampered by the lack of a single comprehensive body to coordinate data with respect to the numbers and types of professions and the training required to support the economy.

“Therefore the development of the national training plan is a significant first step towards the continual improvement of workforce planning in Bermuda and the establishment of a common framework for discussions on future workforce numbers supported by programmes and the alignment of scholarships, training funds and training opportunities to achieve this.

“The plan will enable Bermuda to move from its largely uncoordinated workforce training regime to the adoption of a long-term view, enabling Bermuda to become more self sufficient in the supply of human resources to support and sustain the economy.”

He said: “We will be forward planning to meet the needs of the economy looking ahead for at least the next ten years.”

The Minister explained that the National Training Board will work in association with government agencies and private sector stakeholders to develop and implement the plan, and serve as the “overseeing training organisation in Bermuda”.

Industry representatives have already been nominated to serve on the NTB, which will also get input from Occupational Advisory Committees made up of industry groups.

“Ultimately the community can expect a plan that provides a strategic road map for the delivery of qualified human capital across all segments of industry in the short- and long-term.

“The plan will fulfil our goals of ensuring that Bermuda ultimately reduces our reliance on overseas labour because we have carefully considered the future needs of the economy and developed our people accordingly.”

Minister Fahy said a delivery date for the plan will be announced in the coming weeks.

Mr Sousa is the new chairman of the NTB, and his deputy is former Progressive Labour Party Senator Vincent Ingham. Mr Ingham resigned from the PLP last month.

“We wish to unleash the talent that is available locally,” said Mr Sousa.

Minister Fahy also announced that the Department of Labour and Training will be renamed the Department of Workforce Development, effective tomorrow. The NTB is to be the training unit within the Workforce Development Department.

“The name change signals the commencement of the transition of the Department and its mission to ensure the delivery of qualified human resources to support Bermuda’s economy,” Mr Fahy said.

“It is well known that workforce development by its very nature is intended to discern and address the deficiencies among those desiring employment.”

Asked what will be done in the short-term, the Minister said: “What we need to do is identify now those areas where we can get Bermudians trained quite quickly into positions that are already available in the local market. That’s the short-term plan. We can do that by looking at immigration and work permit figures.”

He said the Workforce Development Department had received suggestions for training needs from both the blue collar sector and international business.

Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 03, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 02, 2013 at 11:42 pm)

National training plan on the way

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