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Senate: Pledge over workers development

Progressive Labour Party senator Jason Hayward (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Better contacts between industry and the Government will mimprove opportunities for the island’s workforce, the Upper House was told yesterday.

Jason Hayward, a Progressive Labour Party senator, said that the engagement of employers and industry was “fundamental to building a skilled and qualified pipeline for Bermuda’s workforce”.

Mr Hayward added: “As a result of increased employer and industry engagement, the workforce development system will understand the factors that impact recruitment of Bermudians.

“Further, industry-sector partnerships will lead to increased resources for work-based learning, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, internships, work experience and professional development within the workplace.”

He said said that the new approach would include the creation of a Workforce Development Board. Mr Hayward said the board would be comprised of “no less” than 50 per cent employer and industry representatives.

He added: “Therefore, legislative changes will be required to transition the current National Training Board in the National Workforce Development Board.”

Mr Hayward said the Department of Workforce Development would benefit from the “knowledge and insight of the business community”.

He added: “Professional staff should be tasked with building relationships, with building relationships with employers, becoming active in professional business organisations, and being fluent in the needs of the business community.

“For this reason, the creation of an employer liaison officer within the Department of Workforce Development is recommended.”

Mr Hayward said that occupational advisory committees would also be used to provide information on in-demand jobs and their required skills, as well as reviewing industry-specific training and opportunities “to insert experiential learning”.

He added that it was recommended that workforce development professionals be included in meetings on current and future projects that will create large-scale employment.

Mr Hayward said: “Moreover, contracts and or memorandums of understanding should automatically include appropriate career path training for Bermudians as recommended by workforce development professionals.”

He added the National Workforce Development Plan will “essentially” lay the foundation for a 21st century workforce development system, adding: “It is critically important to have a workforce development system for which the primary aim is to connect people with jobs.”

“This plan will provide the opportunities to prepare Bermudians with the requisite skills to enter the job market and introduce our young people to the world of work.”