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Bermudians reluctant to apply for some jobs - Minister

Only three Bermudians applied to fill vacancies for 13 kitchen porters despite layoffs around the Island, Economy Minister Kim Wilson said today.

Speaking in the Senate, Senator Wilson said that even as job losses continued, “some jobs remain hard to fill”.

“Some of these job categories were hard to fill even before we faced recessionary conditions, however despite the downturn in the employment markets, Bermudians remain reluctant to apply,” she said.

Sen Wilson said as of March 31 there were 84 work permits for kitchen porters and 128 work permits for housekeepers the numbers do not include housekeepers who are also child caregivers or senior caregivers.

“Madam President, a recruiter recently advised the Ministry that there was a requirement to recruit 13 kitchen porters, however only three Bermudian applications were submitted. This is a disturbing result given the growing number of persons registering with Labour and Training and making applications for Financial Assistance.

“Upon researching the requirements of a kitchen porter I can advise Honourable Members that a kitchen porter carries out a range of basic activities in a working kitchen. His primary responsibility is performing washing and maintenance duties. Kitchen porters are typically employed in hotels, bars, and restaurants.

“Kitchen porters are responsible for collecting and cleaning pots, pans, plates, crockery and cutlery items. Health and safety laws usually dictate that cooking staff are responsible for ensuring all equipment used in preparing food is fully sanitised.

“I've learned that commercial kitchens typically operate with limited resources and space. A kitchen porter must ensure key items are always washed and available when required and that they are not left in a disorganised fashion that uses up space.

“A kitchen porter is expected to mop the floor, take out the garbage and fully disinfect food preparation surfaces at the end of his shift. In some cases, a kitchen porter may also need to manage the delivery of stock orders and ensure food items are properly stored.

“I can only imagine that to some this may not appear to be the most attractive job, however in these tough economic times I would encourage Bermudians to take advantage of all employment opportunities.

“During a recent stakeholder meeting an industry partner opined that kitchen porters, often referred to as pot washers, could earn as much as $35K a year in some instances. I trust that those who are seeking employment will reconsider this category as one that is respectable and wherein they can earn a reasonable income.”

Sen Wilson added: “You have heard me repeatedly state that I am not prepared to issue work permits in circumstances where qualified, able-bodied Bermudian applicants are capable of performing the functions required for the position. Likewise, I am not prepared to allow local businesses to suffer due to the lack of qualified Bermudian applicants.

“That said, if a business has satisfied me that they have taken all reasonable and necessary steps to hire Bermudians but to no avail, I will issue the requisite work permits so as not to cripple the business due to a lack of human resources. It is regrettable to have to even consider, let alone grant work permits in instances where there are unemployed Bermudians that are capable of performing the functions but for whatever reason choose not to apply for jobs.”

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Published December 22, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm)

Bermudians reluctant to apply for some jobs - Minister

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