Fahy hails graduates from apprentice scheme
Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs, has hailed the partnership between Bermuda Motors and the National Training Board in securing the employment of two Bermudian apprentice mechanics.
Tyree Armstrong, 22 and Jabari Hollis, 20, have been recently employed by Bermuda Motors. Both former Berkeley Institute graduates, Mr Armstrong and Mr Hollis started work this month after completing an 18-month course in Associate of Science in Auto Collision Repair Technology at the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) in Rhode Island. The NTB provided full financial support for the course.
The NEIT course counts as part of Mr Armstrong's and Mr Hollis's four-year apprenticeship with Bermuda Motors. The course covered paint and bodywork, structural and non-structural repairs, and electrical. During the next year, they will be working towards certification by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence and qualification as junior mechanics.
Atinori Butterfield, who completed the same programme six years ago, will mentor the apprentices. Mr Butterfield is a body and paint workshop controller and estimator at Bermuda Motors, and is being trained for a future management position within the company.
“The Government remains committed to providing employment opportunities for Bermudians,” Sen Fahy said. “The partnership between Bermuda Motors and the National Training Board bodes well for the placement of qualified professionals in the automotive industry.”
Kenneth Bartram, training and assessment officer at the Department of Workforce Development, said that the Government had partnered with automotive companies two years ago to try to reverse a decline in Bermudians entering the industry.
“We did a survey of people in the industry and found that the number of people retiring in five to ten years, or who were on work permits, was far higher than the number of apprentices coming into the industry,” Mr Bartram said.
“We're working to make sure those interested in the profession get into the right schools, get experience and in ten years are at the top of their game, and are able to move into those positions.”
Darwin Symonds, the after sales manager for paint and body shop at Bermuda Motors, said the apprenticeship programme and the support of the NTB was crucial for the future of the industry.
“People with these skill sets are in demand and there are a lot of opportunities in the industry for Bermudians,” he said. “This programme is really important if we are to bring on young Bermudians because they can't get this level of training on the Island.”