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Rabain under fire after training questions

One Bermuda Alliance MPs condemned Progressive Labour Party MP Diallo Rabain after he questioned the Government's commitment to provide training programmes for Bermudians.

During last week's motion to adjourn Mr Rabain raised concerns that training programmes had not been established to help Bermudians become landscape gardeners after the trade became certified. He further queried the work of the Department of Workforce Development asking: “What is Workforce Development and the National Training Board actually doing?”

But Cole Simons quickly rebutted the former PLP Senate leader's claims and urged him to “do some research” before making assertions in the House of Assembly. He told the House of Assembly he had just recently attended the graduation of several Bermudians who had completed a landscape gardening training course.

“Before he [Mr Rabain] comes to this House he need to do his research,” Mr Simons, the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources said.

“We are doing our best to help young people pursue landscape-gardening careers. Just two weeks ago ten people graduated from the training course and I attended that ceremony.

“I would ask Mr Rabain, please get you facts straight before you come to this House and make pronouncements. We have provided certified training programmes.”

Meanwhile, OBA MP Jeff Sousa, chairman of Workforce Development, accused Mr Rabain of “getting on his soap box” and throwing the hard-working people of Workforce Development “under the bus”.

He branded Mr Rabain's assertions as “absolute rubbish” and challenged the PLP MP to speak with him and the National Training Board about the good work being done.

Earlier in the motion to adjourn Mr Rabain had said: “Now, if you're going to make it [landscape gardening] a certified trade, one of the next things you would think would be logical is to come up with a way of training our people to be certified and to date, we haven't seen any of that.

“I challenge this Government — are we really serious about getting our people registered, are we really serious about getting our people prepared? Numbers have continually spiralled downward.”

Referring to the Workforce Development Performance Measures outlined in this year's budget, Mr Rabain said the number of people being trained had dropped from 220 in 2013 to 100 estimated for this year.

He said the average sponsorship per person had been reduced from $1,500 to $1,000 and the number of certifications in 2013 was 125, compared to 50 estimated this year. He also pointed to the number of apprenticeships dropping from 25 in 2013 to ten estimated this year.

“We have a department whose remit is responsible for the implementation of recommendations in order to get our people qualified to work, but we have performance measures that are showing us the exact opposite.”

Raising concerns: Progressive Labour Party MP Diallo Rabain (File photograph)

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Published June 30, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 30, 2016 at 7:54 am)

Rabain under fire after training questions

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