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Government plans to boost workforce by thousands

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour (File photograph)

The Government aims to increase Bermuda’s working population by more than 8,400 over a five-year period, according to a newly announced segment of its Economic Development Strategy.

The Ministry of Economy and Labour released details of strategic priority number five — titled People — which aims to ensure Bermudians have the necessary tools to remain competitive and take advantage of employment opportunities.

Speaking to one of six initiatives in the section, a ministry spokeswoman said: “The goal is approximately 8,418 persons, or about 1,684 persons per year for the next five years, accomplished through local workforce retention and reducing migration, and enabling economic growth through immigration.”

The Economic Development Strategy, a plan being implemented from now until 2027, also seeks to use immigration as a lever for greater economic activity and a sustainable workforce.

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, said: “Investing in the local workforce will also encourage both local and international firms domiciled in Bermuda to consider hiring within the local talent pool.

“Developing the skill sets of the local workforce will enhance the local economy by encouraging Bermudians to remain competitive in the labour market, facilitating an environment for a high-quality workforce, adding another feature to Bermuda’s already attractive business jurisdiction and improving Bermudians' ability to participate in the local economy.

“In addition to ensuring that every able-bodied Bermudian has an opportunity to participate in the workforce, the Government will utilise net immigration as one of its solutions to reverse the trend of Bermuda’s evolving demographic profile …

“Bermuda must create an environment that allows immigrants to flourish in the workforce, invest in the economy and create jobs through entrepreneurship and business investment.”

The Government announced in June it would lower eligibility requirements for individuals to obtain a Permanent Resident’s Certificate. It said the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act would have to be amended to alter PRC eligibility and that increasing the workforce was a key element.

The People priority includes six initiatives, the first of which is the execution of the National Workforce Development Strategy. This involves preparing the way for “a 21st- century workforce development system" to ensure Bermudians are able to identify job opportunities.

The second initiative is the execution of the Youth Empowerment Strategy, preparing young people for the workforce and educational pathways.

Third is the execution of personal employment plans, which the Government describes as “an essential part of Financial Assistance Reform”. The plans aim to identify barriers to employment, skills and assessment needs, and provide guidance on achieving self-sustainability.

There will also be the creation of a National Certification and Apprenticeship Board. The ministry spokeswoman added: “This board will focus on administering national certification, developing much needed skills in trade and increasing promotion and advocacy for apprenticeship schemes that benefit Bermudians, such as skilled trades, national certification and apprenticeships.

A fifth initiative aims to build technological expertise locally through education and training programmes facilitated by the Government and the private sector.

The sixth and final initiative listed is increasing the percentage of the population working in Bermuda. The spokeswoman said: “Aligning Bermuda’s old-age dependency ratio with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average is critical to our economy.”

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Published August 09, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated August 09, 2023 at 7:59 am)

Government plans to boost workforce by thousands

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