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Job Corps will be a success - Patrice Minors

Economy Minister Patrice Minors has given assurances the business community will make the new Job Corps programme a success.

The Opposition had expressed concern at Government’s plan for private companies to help fund the scheme giving career opportunities to low-income and disadvantaged young people.

MPs feared businesses would have so little money in the coffers due to the economic crisis it wouldn’t have enough cash to take part in Job Corps.

But Mrs Minors told the House of Assembly: “Businesses communicated that they see the benefit for themselves in having the young people who have successfully gone through the programme coming to work in their business.”

During the Budget debate on her Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mrs Minors had told the House $450,000 was being set aside for the planning phase of Job Corps, the scheme designed to give young people outreach and enrolment opportunities, academic skills, career technical training and the chance to win placements with businesses.

One Bermuda Alliance MP Grant Gibbons said of the plan to partner with businesses: “A lot of businesses don’t have the money.

“I’m not sure how much of an effect it’s going to have this year if there’s no money to put implementation into effect.”

Dr Gibbons said more financial support should be given to groups like Care Learning and the Adult Education School.

Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards described Job Corps as an excellent thing, but said training alone will not solve Bermuda’s unemployment problem.

Mr Richards said the Ministry needs to radically change its attitude towards the economy, and make its mission to increase the number of jobs held by Bermudians.

The amount of Bermudians in work fell from 28,900 to 26,300 in the decade leading up to 2010, said Mr Richards.

And he said Government is labouring on the “disastrously false assumption” that as long as Bermudians are fully trained or qualified a job will be found for them.

“There are many fully qualified Bermudians on our Island who are out of work,” said the Shadow Minister.

He also spoke of term limits, saying they had reaped terrible consequences for Bermudians and Bermudian businesses.

But Government’s “hubris and stubbornness” has prevented it from admitting it was wrong, said Mr Richards.

Southampton West Central MP Charlie Swan, who was elected as a United Bermuda Party MP, said he approved of the recent introduction of ten-year work permits, but questioned whether they would be too expensive for smaller companies.

Mrs Minors concluded the debate saying her Ministry is committed to finding employment for all Bermudians that wish to be employed.

In introducing the highlights of her budget, Mrs Minors said that three posts, currently vacant, were being abolished from the loss leading Bermuda Post Office.

And a five-year strategic plan for the post office was being implemented, she said.

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Published March 20, 2012 at 10:02 am (Updated March 20, 2012 at 10:02 am)

Job Corps will be a success - Patrice Minors

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