Minister On Scholarships & Summer Employment

July 26, 2019

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [July 26], Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo provided an update on the 2019 scholarship and award recipients funded by the Department of Workforce Development, and the summer employment initiatives coordinated by the Department.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, the Government is committed to developing and strengthening the workforce by supporting the educational pursuits and career development of Bermuda’s youth. We recognize that providing access to higher learning and meaningful workforce opportunities, strategically positions our young people on the path to developing sustainable careers. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to share with this Honorable House, the 2019 scholarship and award recipients funded by the Department of Workforce Development. Further, I will also highlight the summer employment initiatives coordinated by the Department.

Mr. Speaker, for many students in pursuit of attaining tertiary education locally or overseas, the goal can be far reaching. For various reasons, families may experience financial hardship which becomes a barrier to further education.

The “traditional student” we once knew, has changed over the years. Many students work part-time or full-time while attending college. Additionally, with increased college and university tuition costs, textbooks, room and board and other associated costs, it makes it more difficult for families to be able to afford higher education for their children. This Government continues to invest in our young people. We are delivering on our pledge to provide greater opportunities for Bermudians that assist them to meet their educational and training needs. This is further demonstrated by providing financial support to students to help defray the cost of tuition and creates a talent pipeline for Bermuda’s workforce.

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to present this year’s recipients with their awards on Thursday, 27th June at a lunch reception held at the Department of Workforce Development. Recipients shared their future aspirations upon graduation.

The Selection Committee takes great care each year to understand the needs for Bermuda’s Workforce; utilizing available employment statistics and work permit data. Applications for new awards are received online using the Bermuda Scholarships website, Successful students must demonstrate a minimum grade point average [GPA] of 2.70 on a 4.0 scale. Returning students must provide proof of enrollment and their official transcript, indicating that they will continue their studies. Providing they meet the minimum GPA requirement of 2.70 [B-] per semester, continued funding is granted until the completion of their programme.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that a total of thirty-five [35] recipients were awarded scholarships for 2019. All recipients were awarded funding, valued up to $10,000.00 per student, annually for the length of their programme of study. I am honored to present this year’s scholarship recipients.

The 2019 Scholarship and Award Recipients are:

  • John Barnes – Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery, Keele University
  • Donnika Bean – Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Elmhurst College
  • Milon Bourne-Outerbridge – Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Essex
  • Lucas Bridges – Associates of Applied Science, Field Crop Technology, North Carolina State University
  • Lance Brown, Jr. – Bachelors of Engineering [Hons] Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • Tabia Butterfield – Seneca College, Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering
  • Mason Cartwright – Imperial College Institute, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery
  • Caroline Caton – University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Bachelors, Network and IT Security
  • Nia Dailey – Spelman College, Bachelor of Science Psychology & Pre-Medicine
  • Jermayne Dears – Holland College, Bachelor of Tourism and Travel Management
  • Andre Durham, Jr. – Northeastern Marine Institute, Associates of Applied Science, Nautical Science
  • Ari Edwards – Seneca College, Diploma, Building Systems Engineering Technician
  • Amari Ebbin – University of South Wales, Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology
  • Sharmila Harris – Mount St. Vincent University, Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Jelania Hassell – New England Institute of Technology, Bachelor Cyber Security & Networking
  • Niyokiei Hassell – Middlesex University, Bachelor of Science [Hons] in Veterinary Nursing
  • Chantae Hollis – John F. Kennedy University School of Medicine, Medical Science Program, Doctor of Medicine
  • Shapri Joell – The Institute of Trichologists, Trichology, Medical and Cosmetic Study
  • Cameron Lee-Ming – University of British Columbia, Bachelor in Applied Science, Engineering
  • Cholae Martin – University of Nottingham, Masters of Pharmacy
  • Ciera McGhie – San Jancinto College, Associate Degree of Life Science
  • Ter-Rae Morrison – University of Manchester, Bachelor of Nursing [Hons
  • Mikaela O’Brien – University of Leicester, Bachelor of Science Mathematics and Actuarial Science
  • Phoebe Osborne – Dalhousie University, Neuroscience, Microbiology & Immunology
  • Haley Place – Georgia State University, Bachelor of Science, Actuarial Science
  • Seth Samuels – Acadia University, Bachelor of Science, Computer Science & Information Security Systems
  • Kyla Sinclair – Bournemouth University, Bachelor of Science [Hons Physiotherapy
  • Alana Smith – APlus Institute, Dental Hygiene
  • Rosemary Swain – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Jeremy Taylor – New England Institute of Technology, Bachelor Cyber Security & Networking
  • Tiontae Thomas – Hampton University, Bachelor of Science Nursing
  • Shaunte Young – Mercy College, Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology
  • Shayla Gift – Sheffield Hallan University, Biomedical Science
  • Dominque Johns – Robert Gordon University, Masters of Science, International Business
  • Zhiyah Wolffe-Simpson – Keiser University, Radiology Technology

Mr. Speaker, to date, funding has also been awarded to ten [10] students studying locally at Bermuda College, ranging from $500 to $3,000 per year. Last year, fifty-eight [58] students received funding locally. This year that figure is expected to remain fairly stable, with one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars [$175,000] budgeted to support local students. However, the final numbers cannot be determined until the end of August when registration closes for Bermuda College.

Mr. Speaker, the total cost for overseas funding for this fiscal year to date is up to three hundred and fifty thousand dollars [$350,000] for a total of thirty-five [35] students, of which eighteen [18] are new and seventeen [17] are returning students.

Mr. Speaker, the Department consults with the Ministry of Education to make certain that there is no duplication of scholarship recipients. Verifying this information, assists in ensuring that the Government’s investment in our young people is awarded in a fair and equitable manner.

Mr. Speaker, fifty thousand dollars [$50,000] is budgeted each year to assist individuals in obtaining their General Education Diploma [GED]. These funds are allocated equally to C.A.R.E. Computer and the Adult Education Centre. Due to the variation in costs of tuition for each establishment, ten [10] students are sponsored with C. A. R. E. Computers and ten [10] students with Adult Education Centre for GED Classes. This financial support provides persons a second chance to obtain a General Education Diploma [GED].

We wish all students every success as they further their studies locally or overseas and look forward to their return to Bermuda’s workforce.

Mr. Speaker, I now move to the Summer Employment Programme for college and university students, which assists participants in the development of their career goals by connecting work experience to academic learning. Work assignments are professional in nature and based on entry-level roles within a specific industry.

Mr. Speaker, programme applicants must demonstrate full-time enrollment in a college or university and possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. 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, decision making, time-management and problem solving skills. In addition, they gain exposure to career and work competency standards within their chosen profession.

Mr. Speaker, Monday, 20th of May, marked the commencement of the Summer Employment Programme 2019. Over the course of the summer, each intern will complete up to ten [10] weeks work experience. For their efforts, they will receive a five thousand dollar [5000] stipend over the ten [10] week period or five hundred dollars [$500] weekly.

I have been advised that this year, we have a group of extremely talented interns. Some of the academic programs our interns are pursuing include:

  • Law, Social Policy, Political Science;
  • Business [Accounting, Finance, International Business];
  • Health [Pre-Medical, Pre-Dentistry, Nursing, Radiology, Occupational and Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Pathology, Public Health, Biomedical Science, Pharmacy];
  • Sciences [Environmental Science, Pre-Veterinary Animal Science, International Wildlife Biology];
  • Human Services [Psychology, Social Work, Forensic Psychology];
  • Education [Early-Childhood, History, Art, Special Education];
  • Electrical Engineering, Architecture, Advanced Automotive Technology;
  • Television and Film, Graphic Design, Music Technology; and
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Mr. Speaker, this Government remains heavily vested in developing Bermuda’s youth, as 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 programme this year afforded eighty-seven [87] interns with work experience. Further, we partnered with Cabinet Office this year to offer the “Enhanced Summer Employment Programme”. The Enhanced Programme offered competitive internships, where interns are tasked with significant projects related to policy and strategy in the delivery of Government’s initiatives. This year the Enhanced Programme provided four [4] talented students the opportunity with Cabinet Office.

We have learned from our students, that there is no shortage of summer employment opportunities. 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, 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 term. Several former programme participants over the years, have secured full-time employment with the employers with which they were placed while participating in the programme. Going forward, we intend to put a process in place to track employment outcomes resulting from the summer programmes.

Mr. Speaker, others reveal the Summer Employment Programme 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; they endeavor further to pursue graduate degrees. In addition, several students use the programme for college credit towards fulfillment of their coursework.

Mr. Speaker, with the closure of the Department of Community Education and transfer of staff to the Department of Workforce Development, this year the Department assumed the responsibility of coordinating the Summer Internship Programme for high school students. The programme is four [4] weeks in duration and provides the participants an opportunity to work shadow professionals in their chosen area of interest. As a result, they are better equipped to make more informed choices about their future studies and career path. This year there are a total of eighty-seven [87] participants. This year participants attend the senior, private and homeschools throughout the island as well as overseas boarding schools.

Mr. Speaker, before I close, I must extend my thanks to those who have helped make these initiatives 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 interns. 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 programmes would not be successful. Our youth truly benefit from your guidance and generosity. Thank you to the many Government Departments and Quangos providing the opportunity for our young people. Lastly, thank you to the private sector and non-profit companies who participated in the Summer Employment Programme and Summer Internship Programme.

To our award recipients and young people participating this year in the summer programmes, you are Bermuda’s future! We will continue to help in any way we can; 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.

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