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Department of Parks trainees praised

Minister of the Environment Cole Simons talks with trainees who are currently taking part in the Skills Development Programme

Minister of the environment Cole Simons has heaped praise on trainees who enrolled in the Skills Development Programme which is run by the Department of Parks.

“I had the pleasure of attending the graduation of the previous class in the June,” said Mr Simons. “I was so impressed with this programme and the commitment of both the Parks team and the students that I wanted to support the new participants.

“I hope to see all of them again at the graduation ceremony in December.”

The course includes ten modules which have verbal and hands-on assessments at the end of each module to ensure the participant has learnt the material, explained a ministry statement.

The training includes plant pruning, pest management, plant identification, spraying, propagation, ground preparation and planting, hand tools and operation and maintenance of small equipment.

After completing about two months of their four month programme, the trainees are currently helping the Department of Parks groom sections of the Railway Trail.

“The Skills Development Programme was officially launched just over three years ago,” added the statement. “It provides an excellent training and development opportunity for young people between the ages of 19 and 25 who are interested in learning about horticulture and the trade of landscaping.

“Since its launch, the programme has achieved much success and the Department of Parks is grateful for all of the support that has been given to this initiative.

“Last year, 16 of the participants landed part-time jobs and four received full-time employment. In June, a further ten participants graduated from the programme. All participants are unpaid and receive only a small stipend during their training.”

The Skills Development Program offers structure, training and support as well as life skills training and opportunities for young men to showcase their potential and talents. The Parks Department partners with the Department of Court Services, and sponsors include the Bermuda Garden Club and Tokio Millenium.