Minister On Workforce Development Initiatives

February 15, 2019

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [Feb 15], Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo provided an update on the initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Workforce Development to assist and prepare individuals for the workforce, speaking about training initiatives, certifications, partnerships and more.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise today to provide this Honourable House with an update on the initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Workforce Development to assist and prepare individuals for the workforce. My Honourable colleagues are reminded that the Department of Workforce Development carries out two main operational functions, namely Career Development and Training. The Career Development Section provides assessments, employment assistance and job readiness training while the Training Section administers educational funding programs, manages the apprenticeship and trainee programmes and regulates national certification standards in four designated occupational trades.

Mr. Speaker,

I am pleased to report that as of January 31, 2019, the Training Section has awarded National Certification to a total of four hundred twenty-eight [428] tradesmen in four designated occupations as required by legislation. The designated occupations currently include Welders, Electricians, Automotive Service Technicians, and Landscape Gardeners.

The following outlines the number of persons registered and certified for each designated occupation.

  • Electricians: 226 registered and 121 certified;
  • Welders: 42 registered and 29 certified
  • Automotive Service Technicians: 199 registered and 168 certified
  • Landscape Gardeners: 600 registered and 110 certified

The remaining non-certified registrants are currently being assessed for approval by the Occupational Advisory Committee as provided under the National Occupational Certification Act 2004.

Mr. Speaker,

The Department has also formed new partnerships with industry for short-term trainee programmes. The short-term trainee programmes are industry driven and generally less than two [2] years. Additionally, efforts to assist employers by providing support to train their existing Bermudian staff within their respective companies is also underway. The intent is to encourage career advancement and increase entry level opportunities for Bermudians. The Department has successfully engaged six [6] new companies to train Bermudians in the occupations of Computer Programming, Commercial Cleaning, Waiter Servers, and Water Waste Management.

Mr. Speaker,

In December 2018, the Department acknowledged the success of five [5] Culinary Apprentices employed at the Fairmount Southampton. The apprentices obtained their Red Seal Certification which is a universally recognized certification. The Department sponsored all five [5] culinary apprentices during a six week training at Holland College, Canada. Their testimonials spoke of their individual journeys and the value of the joint partnership. To demonstrate and highlight the success of the Culinary Arts Apprenticeship Programme, the students showcased their culinary skills by preparing the meal for staff at the Fairmont’s Annual Christmas Luncheon.

Mr. Speaker,

In January, the Bermuda Telephone Company [BTC] Apprenticeship Programme graduation was held to mark the achievement of nine [9] trainees, fully sponsored by the Department. Upon the completion of the three [3] year apprenticeship programme in the field of telecommunications, participants received certificates from City & Guilds for Copper and Fiber Training and were awarded certificates from the Department on behalf of the National Training Board. All nine [9] graduates are fully employed as Copper & Fiber Specialists at BTC.

Also in January, Zar’a Cardell, a young Bermudian was highlighted for obtaining certification in Computer Programming at General Assembly in New York. The training consisted of an intense Python Boot Camp in partnership with Connectech. The partnership is an example of the Department’s short-term agreements with industry partners. Mr. Cardell was provided financial support and mentorship by the Department and now teaches coding to youth and adults at Connectech.

In February, the Department recognized industry tradesmen who participated in the Prior Learning Assessment Recognition [PLAR] professional development training course. Participants represented the Automotive, Electrical and Horticulture and Landscape Gardening industries. As a part of the training, participants learned methods of assessing tradesmen’s skills through evaluating their informal learning, prior work experience and on-the-job training. Fifteen [15] participants including three Department staff are now recognized as PLAR assessors to support the National Certification process.

Mr. Speaker,

The Career Development Section recently concluded a series of community outreach events, commencing in October 2018. My Honorable colleagues will recall as previously reported, that the first event was held at the Allen Temple Church in Somerset. The Section hosted a similar event at the Devonshire Recreation Club in December. In January, the community event was held at the Warwick Workman’s Club. Lastly, the most recent event was hosted at the St. George’s Cricket Club. Each Career Development Training and Registration Drive provided general workshops on “Understanding What Employers Want: Employability Skills”, “Your Online Image and Employment”, and “Interview Skills: Winning over the Recruiter”.

The Career Development and Training teams were available onsite for one-on-one consultations. Booth layouts allowed participants to visit breakout stations on:

  • Resume Development and Critique;
  • Bermuda Job Board Registration;
  • Job Leads and Future Opportunities;
  • National Certification;
  • Apprenticeships;
  • Bermuda College Programmes; and
  • Funding.

The Endeavour Programme participated in the central event to share information on their training programmes. The Royal Bermuda Regiment and Bermuda Sports Management Group joined the Department at the Warwick Workman’s Club. Finally, the Labour Relations Section participated in both the Warwick and St. George’s events. In total, one hundred and forty-four [144] persons attended the Career Development Training and Registration Drives throughout the island.

Mr. Speaker,

The Career Development Section prepares and supports individuals for Bermuda’s workforce. The Section continues to follow-up and meet with persons who attended the community events to support them in reaching their career goals. The information covered by facilitators was an introduction to some and a refresher for others on work ethic, soft skills and strategies that will help job seekers to be successful in the workforce. These forums, provided the opportunity to educate the public on the breadth of services offered by the Department and how to best utilize those services.

Mr. Speaker,

The feedback at each event was very positive. Attendees stated, “The information presented was thorough, hitting points that are useful for new hires to the job world. Each facilitator was knowledgeable and cordial. Very informative. Good to have these points repeated for those looking for new jobs.” Similarly, another participant shared their thoughts of the community event stating, “It was very helpful. I appreciate that they had representatives from the various branches in Workforce Development. Lastly, an attendee said of the event, “What an amazing and informative event! A one-stop shop of ambition and confidence is offered by staff, speakers and vendors. Any phobia on job searching is immediately squashed at the door. You are greeted with that Bermuda smile and enthusiastically told it’s time to go to work! I love it!”

Mr. Speaker,

The Department intends to be more deliberate in highlighting profiles for persons who have benefited from the Department’s services and experienced success. Doing so, increases public awareness of the various services available and the work the Department does to train, develop, retool and equip Bermudians for today’s workforce. More importantly, the profiles help to restore hope for jobseekers.

Recently, Erin Butterfield, a recent law graduate shared her story of struggle and eventual success. Ms. Butterfield met with disappointment in her job search, having been told that although she had a degree, she lacked experience. Admittedly, Ms. Butterfield didn’t feel like she received the services and guidance she was seeking on her first visit to the Department. Sometime later, she decided to give the Department a second chance. She had this to say. “I went back to Workforce Development for the second time in August [2018] of this year and had a totally different experience! I spoke to a lady there who was very supportive and started making phone calls on my behalf right away. She had heard that some positions were needed at Magistrate’s Court and sent my resume over. I got an interview and was ultimately successful. Up until that point I had been waitressing for six months. When asked if she would recommend the services at the Department, Ms. Butterfield stated, “I recommended them to a friend of mine this week actually! I’m so glad I gave them a second chance.”

Mr. Speaker,

The Department is working to ensure that clients leave feeling pleased with the level of service provided and hopeful about the mutually agreed plan to support their job search efforts and career goals. An Intake Officer is expected to start with the Department next month. The Intake Officer is a new role made possible by the transfer of the Community Education and Development staff. The role will enable the Department to provide a higher level of customer support and concierge service at the moment clients visit the Department. The role of the Intake Officer will include greeting persons entering the establishment, determining the nature of client visits, ensuring persons meet with the appropriate personnel, providing general information about the array of services, and assisting clients with technology and registering on the Bermuda Job Board.

Mr. Speaker,

The focus of the National Workforce Development Plan is to ensure that a talent pipeline is created for Bermuda’s Workforce. The Department recognizes the importance of connecting Bermuda’s youth to resources that will equip them with the tools needed to be successful in the workforce. Therefore, in January in collaboration with Bermuda Scholarships the Department launched a College Prep: Scholarship Series which focused on tips for navigating the scholarship website and creating a strong scholarship application. Subsequently, in February and under the same partnership a second session focused on “Nailing the Personal Statement and Essays”. Participants learned of the importance of the Personal Statement and Essays as it is critical to shortlisting candidates and being successful in the process. Approximately, seventy-five [75] students in total from public, private and homeschools along with parents attended the sessions.

The Department invites applications for scholarships from the 1st April to 31st May each year. It is important that applicants understand the components of a strong scholarship application in order to experience success. Due to the overwhelming response, additional sessions are planned as the range of other scholarship deadlines can span as late as July on the Bermuda Scholarships site.

Mr. Speaker,

I wish to highlight that the public will notice an increase in training offered monthly, focusing on employability skills. This is made possible as a result of the transfer of staff from the Community Education and Development Programme. Some of the sessions offered this month include:

  • Navigating Online Job Platforms;
  • Computer Essentials: Introduction to Computers;
  • Marketing Yourself for Success: Making Your Resume Work for You;
  • Resume Builder;
  • Keys to Acing Your Interview; and
  • Mock Interviews

Mr. Speaker,

In conclusion, the Department of Workforce Development will continue to assist and prepare Bermudians for today’s workforce. 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

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Comments (2)

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  1. Lookin in says:

    Hope they can work for me? I’ve signed up.. #noresponse

  2. dondererd says:

    Wow, Minister announces that Ministry does job!