National Training Board Annual Report Delivered

July 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

The National Training Board Annual Report 2017-2019 was presented to the House of Assembly on Friday [July 12] by Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo.

The Minister said, “The report for 2017-2018 is over a year late and I apologise to this Honourable House for the delay.

“The Report before you has consolidated the 2017/2018 outstanding report with the 2018/2019 report as one, divided between the years. The report highlights the important work carried out by the National Training Board.”

“The Bermuda National Workforce Development Plan, was presented to the House of Assembly and the general public during fiscal year 2018/19.”

“The National Workforce Development Plan recommends a framework for a One-Stop Career Centre. The “Centre” will serve as the hub for the Workforce Development System or primary location of service delivery.

“The One-Stop Career Centre will provide comprehensive and coordinated services for adults, youth, employers, special populations [i.e. people with disabilities], and for Financial Assistance clients.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the National Training Board Annual Report for the years 2017/18 and 2018/19.

In accordance with Section 11[1] of the National Training Board Act 1997, “The Board shall, within three months after the end of each financial year, forward to the Minister a report on the activities of the Board during that financial year and on the Board’s policy and programme for future years.” I am also required by the Act to lay the report before both Houses of the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, the report for 2017-2018 is over a year late and I apologise to this Honourable House for the delay. The Report before you has consolidated the 2017/2018 outstanding report with the 2018/2019 report as one, divided between the years. The report highlights the important work carried out by the National Training Board.

Mr. Speaker, since the last Annual Report, some of the significant results recorded by the Department are, as follows:

  • Development of a strategic National Workforce Development Plan;
  • Significant progress made with persons obtaining National Certification due to training personnel in Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition [PLAR] in order to assess skilled tradesmen;
  • Over two hundred scholarships have been awarded during the two year period;
  • An increase in the number of Apprenticeships and Training Programmes; six interns were sponsored to gain work experience in Canada as part of the Airport redevelopment project in April 2017;
  • Since its launch, the Bermuda Job Board has grown exponentially with some 155,335 job applications submitted, 1,524 employers registered, 9,300 candidates registered and 2,407 reported hires;
  • In 2018, over 1,309 clients registered for career development services and 114 individuals received funding for the National Certification training programmes; and
  • The report also includes a sample of profiles showcasing success stories of individuals who received services from the Department.

Mr. Speaker, I will provide further detail on the significant results achieved for the 2017 – 2019 reporting period.

The Bermuda National Workforce Development Plan, was presented to the House of Assembly and the general public during fiscal year 2018/19. The Plan outlines six [6] high-level strategic priorities which are critical to building a talent pipeline for Bermuda’s Workforce; a pipeline for all career levels across industries.

The priorities include:

  • (1) Employer and Industry Engagement
  • (2) Alignment of the Workforce Development System
  • (3) Creation of Career Pathways
  • (4) Youth Workforce Programmes
  • (5) Universal Access to Education, Training and Career Services; and
  • (6) Government Resources and Funding.

The National Workforce Development Plan [NWDP] prioritizes Employer and Industry Engagement and embraces Employers as partners within the Workforce Development System to gain a better understanding of employers’ talent needs. Consequently, the work of the Department will be driven by industry.

The plan provides for increased strategic interaction between the Workforce Development System and the business community in order to better understand the required skills, occupational growth, and barriers to Bermudians gaining employment and progressing in their careers.

Mr. Speaker, the National Workforce Development Plan recommends a framework for a One-Stop Career Centre. The “Centre” will serve as the hub for the Workforce Development System or primary location of service delivery. The One-Stop Career Centre will provide comprehensive and coordinated services for adults, youth, employers, special populations [i.e. people with disabilities], and for Financial Assistance clients.

During the fiscal year, 2018/19, the Government advanced initial steps to streamline Workforce Development services by dissolving the Community Education and Development Programme. This resulted in transitioning staff and resources into the Department of Workforce Development, effective September 2018.

The transition has allowed for better utilization of human and financial resources in the delivery of services to the public. Further, it has reduced duplication of workforce services and has begun to lay the framework for the One-Stop Career Centre as recommended.

Mr. Speaker, the Department has continued to provide professional development training to ensure that Bermudians meet the standards for National Certification. During the fiscal year 2018/19, a two [2] day training course was held, through the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment Recognition [PLAR], to train members of the Occupational Advisory Committees [OAC] and the Industry Assessment Panels [IAP].

Participants developed a proficiency in methods for assessing individuals based on their informal learning, prior experience, and on-the-job training. This has created a pathway for skilled tradesmen to obtain National Certification based on their work experience, demonstrating a level of proficiency and work portfolios.

Mr. Speaker, as a result of the PLAR training, I am pleased to report that the Department has made significant progress in certifying individuals in the four designated occupations: welding, automotive technology, electrical and landscape gardening for the fiscal year 2018/19.

To date, the total number of persons achieving National Certification is four hundred seventeen [417] compared to one hundred [100] for the previous fiscal year. National Certification provides a measurable standard for employers to gauge skill sets and has equipped hundreds of Bermudians with credentials attesting to their qualifications.

Mr. Speaker, the number of persons sponsored for training during the fiscal year 2018/19 was one hundred and fourteen [114] compared to one hundred [100] during the fiscal year 2017/18. The training programmes create a career pathway for candidates to obtain industry recognized certification.

These included:

  • Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment Recognition [PLAR]
  • Welding Inspector Training
  • Construction Association of Bermuda Safety Training
  • American Hotel and Lodging Education Association Guestroom Attendant Training
  • Bermuda College Horticulture for Landscape Gardeners Programme
  • National Fire Protection Association – Electrical Coding Training

Mr. Speaker, during the reporting period, the Department provided scholarships and awards based on local workforce needs, particularly in areas underrepresented by Bermudians.

During the period 2018/19, the Department awarded funding for forty-two [42] students for overseas studies, of which twenty-nine [29] were new recipients and thirteen [13] continuing awards. There were fifty-eight [58] students funded locally at Bermuda College, of which thirty-four [34] were new recipients and twenty-four [24] were continuing awards. Additionally, seventeen [17] students were funded for General Education Diploma [GED] programmes.

The total number of students funded for the fiscal period 2018/19 was one hundred and seventeen [117], a twenty-three percent [23%] increase from the ninety-five [95] recipients reported for the previous fiscal year, 2017/18.

Mr. Speaker, the Apprenticeship and Trainee programme successfully engaged industry partners in developing opportunity for full-time employment and training for apprentices. The Department has been keen to promote employer incentives for formalizing apprenticeship and trainee opportunities.

Employer incentives and trainee benefits include:

  • Payroll Tax Waiver for the employers;
  • Subsidized wages and training for the employers;
  • Paid on-the-job training, work experience and an industry qualification for trainees; and
  • Sponsored education and professional development for trainees.

A total of twelve [12] companies registered forty-seven [47] apprentices during fiscal year 2018/19. The participating companies range in size based on the number of employees they employ and include:

  • NRG Limited;
  • Department of Public Transportation;
  • Pinks Salon;
  • BAC Group of Companies;
  • Crisson Limited.;
  • Noble Automotive;
  • Efficient Technologies Bermuda;
  • Otis Elevator Bermuda;
  • Bermuda Telephone Company;
  • BELCO;
  • Fairmont Southampton; and
  • Bermuda Energy Services Company Limited.

Mr. Speaker, the Department also formed partnerships with industry for short-term trainee programmes for fiscal year 2018/19. These programmes are generally less than two [2] years. The Department successfully engaged six [6] new companies to train Bermudians and obtain experience in the fields of Information Technology, Computer Programming, Residential and Commercial Cleaning, Heavy Equipment Operators, and Water Waste Management.

Mr. Speaker, the Bermuda Job Board remains a valuable tool to assist individuals with their search for suitable employment. There continues to be considerable activity with one hundred fifty-five thousand, three hundred and thirty-five [155,335] job applications submitted since the initial launch in 2013. Upgrades to the Job Board in 2016 provided the ability for employers to report on their recruitment activity.

Since March 2016, there have been two thousand four hundred and seven [2,407] reported hires through the Bermuda Job Board. The hires consisted of nine hundred and seventy-two [972] in 2016; seven hundred and fifty-three [753] in 2017, and six hundred and eighty-two [682] hires for 2018.

Mr. Speaker, a total of one thousand four hundred and ninety-nine [1,499] persons were registered with the Career Development Section as either unemployed or seeking alternative employment. In the previous year, one thousand three hundred and nine [1,309] persons were registered with the Career Development Section.

There was a fifteen percent [15%] increase of persons registered from 2017/18 to 2018/19 fiscal year. This increase is attributed to hosting registration drives throughout the community, encouraging registration for unemployed persons.

Mr. Speaker, the Annual Report appropriately showcases a sample of success profiles for persons who utilized the Department’s services. Samara Wilson, matriculated through the Department’s Summer Employment Programme, and assisted with coordinating the programme which provided opportunity for her peers, college/university students to gain meaningful experience in their area of study.

Samara also received funding to assist in the completion of her studies. She now holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in International Human Resource Management. Currently, she is employed with HSBC, UK as a Customer Advocate and Complaints Officer.

She credits the Department with equipping her with administrative, organizational, and project management skills that have helped her successfully navigate her academic and professional journey.

Samara had this to say about working with the Department “My experience at Workforce Development was absolutely life-changing. It taught me valuable lessons on the importance of work ethic, networking and how to be a team player. I would definitely recommend the Department to others.”

Mr. Speaker, David-Vernon Bean also participated in the Summer Employment Programme and was awarded funding to complete a Maritime Operations Course in Barbados, and the Higher National Diploma in Nautical Studies with Warsash Maritime Academy, in the United Kingdom. David was named “Apprentice of the Year” and is now employed with the Department of Marine and Ports as a Leading Seaman for the Bermuda Ferry Service.

He shared his thoughts about the Department’s services. “The services at the Department of Workforce Development are vital. I already had the aptitude to succeed, however I needed the boost financially to enable me to continue reaching for success. Thanks for taking the interest to invest in Bermuda’s future!”

Lastly Mr. Speaker, Lavita Williams worked with our Career Development Section to assist with her employment goals and soft skills. When the opportunity arose for her to participate in the Room Attendant Training sponsored by the Training Section in collaboration with the Bermuda Hospitality Institute, Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton, she was eager to participate.

Ms. Williams successfully achieved the Certified Room Attendant credential through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute and found a new appreciation and passion for creating clean spaces. She developed her new skill set and passion into her own business, “Leave it to Lavita”; a specialty cleaning company with discounted packages to benefit pensioners with fixed incomes.

She is delighted with the path that her career development journey has taken her. She shared the following on her experience with the Department, “They sent me on a housekeeping training course for two weeks where I excelled and became certified. It really boosted my confidence and this encouraged me to start my own cleaning business.”

She is applauded for utilizing the sponsored training and career development services to blossom as an entrepreneur and create a successful small business.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the National Training Board, the Department of Workforce Development and industry partners who work so closely with the government to ensure that training and development programmes are successful. Their combined efforts will ensure that Bermudians gain access to opportunities and excel within Bermuda’s workforce.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

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