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Call for jobs training cash

Prominent social worker Martha Dismont has called on the Bermuda Government to direct cash towards programmes which push locals into the workforce — including those who want to pursue more professional career paths.

Speaking ahead of this Friday's Budget, Ms Dismont said investment was needed to prepare individuals for work, be it a blue-collar or white-collar role. This, the Family Centre executive director said, could be done through more job training, skills training and life training.

Ms Dismont's Budget wish list also includes tax breaks for low-to-middle income families, and the easing of costs associated with everyday expenses.

Construction projects in the pipeline have long been seen as the key to fulfilling the One Bermuda Alliance's pledge to ease Bermuda's unemployment problems by creating 2,000 jobs, but Ms Dismont said job preparation should not be limited to labour-related positions created by either the America's Cup or the airport project.

“Whatever job it is, we should make sure that Bermudians are prepared to take those jobs,” she said.

“We need not restrict what is possible for males to what they can do with their hands.

“We actually need to look at more sustainable jobs — do we need more doctors, do we need more lawyers, do we need more teachers, do we need people in social services?

“How do we put in place career opportunities, job training, towards the full scope of what should be available, particularly based upon what someone has a passion to do?”

Emphasising the need for financial backing to prepare “locals for the new jobs becoming available”, Ms Dismont clarified: “I equate locals to residents.”

However, she added that it was “as important, if not slightly more important” to ensure that attention is paid to Bermudian nationals.

“The local population of Bermudians without an educational degree, the skills, or training, is actually suffering more than just the resident,” she said.

She said three stages — job training, skills training and life training — could help ensure all Bermudians have a better chance of good careers.

“What does it take to ensure the Bermudian local who does not have an educational degree, gets that educational degree?” she said.

“It's educational support for those young people that do not have it, or anyone that aspires to get a job that does not have it.”

The second stage revolves around industry-specific job skills training, which potential employees “won't get by simply applying at a job”.

Life skills round out the third part of the approach.

“The majority that's most affected by not having a job, or certainly who have not really had any normal job in the last ten years or so, need actual life-skills training.

“What does it mean in terms of showing up to work on time, staying consistently at your job, being responsible, being accountable, building on your skills ... There are some life-skills pieces here that need to go with this as well,” she said.

According to Ms Dismont, tax breaks for small businesses could also help bolster employment.

“What you hear from business often is ‘I don't have the additional dollars to provide any specific training',” she said.

“I think organisations, like small businesses, need to have the capacity to bring on people who need to have additional training.”

Similar breaks would also benefit charities dealing with increased fees.

“It needs to go in the other direction, because certainly we're overrun a bit,” she said.

Martha Dismont

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Published February 21, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 21, 2017 at 6:30 am)

Call for jobs training cash

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