I rise today to provide this Honourable House with an update on the progress made following my statement to the House on 16th November about Workforce Development initiatives. The House is aware that the Department provides two primary services, namely Career Development and Training. The Career Development Section provides employment readiness services and training while the Training Section funds educational programs, oversees apprenticeship and trainee programs and regulates certification standards in four designated trades.
The Department of Workforce Development is keen to increase awareness of their services through a widespread community outreach campaign. For this purpose, the Department will host a Career Development, Training and Registration Drive on 6th December from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM at the Devonshire Recreation Club. Several similar events are planned for the New Year which will take the Department’s services to the Eastern and Western parishes. The intent is to take the Department’s services “to the streets”. By hosting these community initiatives and collaborating with community clubs the Department hopes to achieve the following:
- Establish a presence in the community, becoming more visible and providing coordinated services by partnering with community organizations;
- Educate the public about available services and how to best utilize the services to reenter the workforce;
- Provide career development and employment readiness services in the community;
- Empower Bermudians and equip them with proven strategies to reach their career and employment goals;
- Capture details on skills and qualifications for unemployed persons who would not ordinarily come to the Department for services; and
- Rebrand the Department as a viable resource for career development services, workforce programmes, scholarships, funding, apprenticeships and training opportunities.
The event at the Devonshire Recreation Club will include general workshops covering:
- Interview Skills: Winning Over the Recruiter;
- Understanding What Employers Want: Employability Skills; and
- Your Digital Footprint (Online Image) and Employment.
Additionally, professionals will be onsite to: assist individuals with résumé development, critique, assist with registering on the Bermuda Job Board, provide job leads, discuss national certification, apprenticeships, and information on upcoming training initiatives.
Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with professionals about their job search efforts; what has been working, what hasn’t been working, and what might the individual do differently to become more marketable to employers. Attendees will work together with the Department to increase their prospects of success.
Bermuda College recruiters will also be present at the event to share information on their degree, certificate and diploma programmes. They will also share details on the many pathways that persons can earn a Bachelor degree or beyond through the Bermuda College.
While the Department is not an employment agency, employers do contact the Career Development Section regularly for suitable candidates to fill their vacancies. Employers must make contact with the Section for the Restricted Job Category as outlined in the Work Permit Policy. In response to the employers’ request, the Section looks to identify suitable referrals on their internal database to submit for consideration. For this reason, it is important for anyone seeking employment or a career change to register with the Department so that they can be considered for these opportunities.
We are very encouraged by the reduction in unemployment published earlier this week in the 2018 Labour Force Survey. However, there is much more work to do. Bermuda’s job market has become increasingly competitive. In order to compete, persons must engage in continuous improvement, professional development, and life-long learning.
The Department is in talks with Take Five and the Bermuda Hospitality Institute to design a waiter/server training program to meet workforce demands. Further, the Department has engaged several cleaning companies to design a training initiative for certified commercial cleaners. Both training programs will launch in January 2019. Persons completing the program will obtain internationally recognized credentials as a Certified Custodial Technician or Certified Food and Beverage Server respectively. Training in court transcription is being explored to provide the necessary manpower locally. These are just a few of the training initiatives to be launched in the New Year.
A Town Hall meeting is also planned for January 2019 to engage the public in frank dialogue. The Department wants to understand how they can better serve the unemployed and underemployed. This will be an opportunity for “real talk” and solution driven conversation about how to improve the Department’s services, how the Department can help, and how job seekers and the Department can forge a shared partnership to work together.
The Department has had the opportunity to revamp their services and wants to take these services “to the streets”. Professionals will be on hand on 6th December to help the unemployed and underemployed to present themselves more confidently to employers, enhance their resumes and increase their chances of success. Staff will follow-up with attendees to ensure that they receive the full range of services necessary to become employment ready and marketable. I encourage the public to take advantage of these services.
The Department of Workforce Development will continue to assist and prepare persons for employment and a career. Once again, it gives me great pleasure at this time to update this Honourable House about the progress of the programs within the Department.
Thank you Mr. Speaker