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Minister: employment scheme shows commitment to youth

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

A programme designed to support young people in their careers was an “important milestone” for the Department of Workforce Development over the past several years, the economy and labour minister said this morning.

Jason Hayward included the Youth Employment Strategy in remarks delivered to the House of Assembly after he presented the National Training Board’s Annual Reports for fiscal years running from 2019/20 to 2022/23.

He apologised for the delayed production of the document, which he said was a result of many factors.

Mr Hayward said: “The main purpose of workforce development is to equip the workers within the local labour market with the necessary tools required to remain competitive.

“The programmes offered provide a cost-effective way to retool, upskill and earn additional degrees and certifications.

“Investing in the local workforce will also encourage both local and international businesses to consider hiring within the local talent pool.”

He added: “An important milestone in the years under review was the development of Bermuda’s National Youth Employment Strategy.

“The Government recognised that there was a need to support our young people as they embark on their career journey.

“The Youth Employment Strategy was developed in 2021 to address unemployment by facilitating greater opportunities and educational pathways for all young Bermudians between 18 and 26 years of age.”

Mr Hayward said: “The introduction of the Youth Employment Strategy exemplifies this Government’s commitment to empowering its younger population.

“This forward-thinking initiative aims to address the unique challenges faced by youth in the workforce and provides solutions to enhance their employability and foster career development.

“The strategy encompasses a range of programmes, including targeted training, mentorship opportunities, and internships designed to bridge the transition from education to employment seamlessly.”

He added: “By focusing on the specific needs of young people, the Youth Employment Strategy not only aims to reduce unemployment rates for this demographic of the population but also seeks to cultivate a skilled and resilient workforce which is able to meet the needs of Bermuda’s future.”

MPs heard that the Graduate Trainee Programme was introduced among efforts to develop emerging talent cultivate future leaders.

Mr Hayward said: “This initiative has proven to be a resounding success, bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical workplace skills.

“Graduates who have completed this programme have seamlessly integrated into the workforce, bringing fresh perspectives as they contribute to their respective fields.”

He said the workforce development department was dedicated to apprenticeships.

Mr Hayward told the House: “The team continues to successfully engage industry partners to develop opportunities for full-time employment and training for apprentices.

“By providing individuals with the opportunity to learn and work simultaneously, we not only address individual skill gaps but also support the growth of a versatile and dynamic workforce.

“These initiatives contribute to the overall economic development of our community, fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional advancement.

“In 2022-23, apprenticeship trainee awards were granted to 52 Bermudians who received training and development in education, technical and vocational areas.”

He added: “Over the reporting period, our workforce development programmes have achieved remarkable success, making a substantial impact on individuals and the community at large.

“A key highlight is the allocation of almost $1 million in scholarship support, providing financial assistance to countless aspiring professionals seeking to enhance their skills and contribute meaningfully to the local workforce.

“This investment has not only facilitated access to education and training opportunities but has also empowered individuals to pursue fulfilling careers, positively influencing their lives and the broader economy.”

To see the minister’s statement in full, see “Related Media”

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Published February 09, 2024 at 12:24 pm (Updated February 09, 2024 at 12:24 pm)

Minister: employment scheme shows commitment to youth

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