Ministerial Statement by The Hon. R. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, JP, MP:
Mr. Speaker, The Government is committed to ongoing development and strengthening of our workforce by supporting the needs and educational pursuits of Bermudian College and University students studying locally and overseas. We recognize that access to meaningful workforce development opportunities and employment programs has the capacity to position our young people on the path to a long-term career. To that end, it gives me great pleasure to highlight the Summer Employment Programme coordinated through the Department of Workforce Development.
The Summer Employment Programme assists participants in the development of their career goals by connecting work experiences to their academic learning. Work assignments are professional in nature and based on entry-level job descriptions.
Mr. Speaker, Students must demonstrate full-time enrollment in a college or university. Successful participants are afforded the opportunity on academic merit, possessing a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher. Community involvement, a formal interview and a personal statement of career goals are also required. Interns receive placements within Government, Private and Non-Profit Sectors where they develop leadership and decision making skills, time management, conflict resolution, and career and work competency standards.
Mr. Speaker, Monday, 16th of May, marked the commencement of the Summer Employment Programme 2016. Over the course of the summer months, each Intern will complete up to 10 weeks. For their efforts, they will receive a $5000 stipend over the 10 week period to assist with their educational and living costs.
I have been advised that this year, we have a group of phenomenal students. Some of the academic programs our Interns are enrolled in include:
- Law and Political Science;
- Business (Commerce, Accounting, Finance, International Business);
- Health (Pre-Medical, Pre-Dentistry, Nursing, Occupational and Physical Therapy, Public Health, and Pharmacy);
- Sciences (Environmental Sustainability and Protection, Applied Animal Management and Veterinary Science);
- Human Services (Psychology, Social Work, Forensic Psychology);
- Education (Early-Childhood, Special Education);
- Information Technology (Cyber Security);
- Mechanical and Marine Engineering; Plumbing Technology;
- Landscape Architecture;
- Automotive Technology;
- Television and Film, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Theatre;
- Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Mr. Speaker, This Government remains heavily vested in our young people, demonstrated by our continued commitment and support of the Summer Employment Programme. Although we have found it necessary to reduce budgets and curtail spending, the program this year afforded 95 interns with work experience. What we have learned from our Technical Officers and students alike is that there are no shortages of summer employment opportunities for College and University students. We have been pleased to find that opportunities in private sector has grown exponentially. Returning college students are often faced with multiple offers for summer employment. There is also an increased trend in students remaining abroad for the summer months to continue their academic studies or participate in overseas internships.
Mr. Speaker, Please allow me to highlight that the Department of Workforce Development has this year partnered with the Bermuda Government London Office, creating the opportunity for one program participant to complete their work experience in our London Office. This years’ successful candidate is Brandon Sousa, who is studying Politics and International Relations with Nottingham Trent University. Additionally, the London Office collaborated with the Department to create a six (6) month internship for a recent graduate. This years’ successful candidate is Calyx Tucker who recently graduated from the University of Law, Bloomsbury Centre with a Graduate Diploma in Law. Needless to say, we are excited about this partnership with the London Office and the experience for both Brandon and Calyx.
Mr. Speaker, The benefits of the work experience opportunities and participation in the Summer Employment Programme extend well beyond the summer to influence career development over the long run. Several former program participants have secured full-time employment with the very employers with which they were placed while participating in the program. Mr. Speaker, others reveal the Summer Employment Program is an excellent opportunity to build experience in their respective areas of study. Many also find the exposure to real-world work experiences solidifies their chosen career path thus they endeavor further to pursue graduate degrees.
Mr. Speaker, Before I close, I must extend my thanks to those who have helped make this initiative such a success. Special thanks of course to the individuals at the Department of Workforce Development for continuing to go above and beyond to help young Bermudians.
My final comments today are directed to our employers as well as to our participating students. To our business partners, I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of you for opening up your establishments to our young people. Without your support the program would not be successful. Our students truly benefit from your guidance and generosity. Thank you to the many Government Departments and Quangos providing the opportunity for our young people and the following private sector and non-profit companies:
- OBMI International
- Zurich International (Bermuda) Ltd.
- In Touch Therapy
- Phoenix Stores, Woodbourne Chemist
- Bermuda Motors
- VIBE 103
- Tendercare Nursery
- Centre on Philanthropy
- Tomorrow’s Voices
- Chamber of Commerce
- Office of the Ombudsman
To the young people participating this year, you are Bermuda’s future. We will continue to help in any way we can in equipping you to successfully make your way in what is becoming an increasingly competitive workforce. I wish you success in your work experience and upcoming studies.
Thank you Mr. Speaker