Hospitality jobs fair is a big hit
Hundreds of young people flocked to a hospitality jobs fair yesterday to join in a returning tourism industry.
The annual Hospitality Recruitment Drive, organised by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda Hotel Association with the help of the Department of Workforce Development, had an air of optimism as the all-day event attracted more than 200 participants in the first few hours.
Stephen Todd, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said the turnout was “tremendous”, and that they had seen more attendees that morning than the 150 they saw last year.
He added: “This year it’s clear to us that there’s a number of individuals who are looking to pursue hospitality careers, whether it be in the hotels or the restaurants, which I think is refreshing.”
The jobs fair, held in the Hamilton Princess hotel’s Princess Rooms, had stands from hotels and restaurant groups, as well as institutions such as Bermuda College and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.
Attendees, many of whom were in their final years of high school, had the chance to discuss the job openings, requirements and training they would receive from the companies.
Mr Todd said that the tourism industry had been hindered by factors outside the pandemic, such as Travel Authorisation forms and cuts to direct flights to Bermuda.
But he added that the island was seeing “the green shoots coming through” as restrictions were lifted and seasonal flight options increased.
Mr Todd said that the turnout reflected both a desire for people to get involved with the tourism industry and an optimism that it would grow in the coming years.
He said: “I’m the eternal optimist – I believe that Bermuda is going to be on the path of a positive track.
“We’ve enjoyed a very enviable reputation over a number of decades of being some of the most hospitable people in the world and I think we can build on that.
“I think we have to recognise that Bermuda is back and we’re going to be coming back strong – that’s going to be possible through the participation and involvement of our Bermudians and guest workers.”
Mr Todd added: “It’s important that we recognise that we need to have the number of employees in place and industry colleagues available to provide the level of service that Bermuda has built its enviable reputation on.”
Tracy Berkeley, the interim chief executive officer of the BTA, said that “the energy in the room” was exciting.
She said: “It wasn’t just hoteliers – it was restaurateurs and other businesses associated with hospitality, so it was just amazing.”
Ms Berkeley said that she was happy with the level of engagement between attendees and businesses.
She hoped that each group walked away with “a core set” of future long-term employees.
Ms Berkeley said: “I think people are looking as we’re coming out of Covid-19 for opportunities to sustain them. I think this was a great opportunity to see what was available in the space of tourism.”
Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour and Economy, said he was “pleased” by the turnout, particularly on the side of the hotels and restaurants.
He said: “It definitely shows that the industry has a commitment to provide opportunities for Bermudians.
“This is definitely an expansion from what took place last year and we want to ensure that we maximise Bermudian exposure to the occupational categories within hospitality and restaurants.”
Mr Hayward said that he wanted jobs fairs such as these to demonstrate the variety of options within the industry and what they would require.
He added; “Speaking with employers, they are very optimistic about the upcoming season and the opportunities that will exist.
“Tourism is trending in a positive direction – we’re not at pre-pandemic levels but we’re certainly moving in the right direction and that’s encouraging.”