Minister On Youth Employment Initiatives

September 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

“In the next quarter, the Department of Workforce Development will be engaging with stakeholders to implement initiatives as outlined in the National Youth Employment Strategy,” Minister of Economy and Labour Jason Hayward said in the House of Assembly today [Sept 30].

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good morning, Mr. Speaker,

I am elated to rise today to present to this Honourable House on initiatives the Government has undertaken to promote and support our youth.

Mr. Speaker,

A strong economy hinges upon people having the skills they need to secure meaningful, well-paid work. The flagrant consequences of youth unemployment highlights the importance of making good job options available for our young people. As part of our Youth Employment Strategy [Y.E.S.] we are making a deliberate effort to target and upskill our youth as they will play a vital part in the workforce in the coming years. Our goal is to position them to secure employment opportunities.

Mr. Speaker,

In the next quarter, the Department of Workforce Development will be engaging with stakeholders to implement initiatives as outlined in the National Youth Employment Strategy.

In alignment with Goal #1 of the Strategy, which is to increase local training opportunities and promote pathways to securing employment, a working group comprised of members from the public and private sector as well as youth stakeholders, has been engaged to analyze labor market data to ensure training opportunities align with current and future demands.

Mr. Speaker,

To ensure relevant training and education opportunities are available locally, the group will perform analysis on the following, to identify high demand occupations and professions with low Bermudian participation:

  • Capacity across various industries to identify the need for entry level jobs to ensure youth services and programs are aligned;
  • Non-traditional/conventional training opportunities; and
  • Capture data on Bermuda’s school leavers, ages 18 – 26 that will include their level of education, career interest, area of study, projected completion date, career goals and their employment status.

Each of these steps strives to ensure that young Bermudians are suitably qualified and positioned to take advantage of job opportunities within the local labour market.

Mr. Speaker,

The Graduate Trainee program was implemented in 2021 with much success. The program provided paid work experience for twenty-one unemployed, recent Bermuda College and University graduates in their area of study.

I am pleased to report, applications for the next cohort of graduate trainees will open on September 23rd, 2022. Interested persons can apply through the Bermuda Job Board at www.bermudajobboard.bm. Information has already been released on various media platforms however, persons have the remainder of today to complete an application if they are interested.

Participants of the program will gain relevant work experience in their area of study, opportunity to refine their soft skills and one-on-one coaching as they navigate their career journey.

The Department of Workforce Development is engaging with private sector employers to expand apprenticeships and register their apprenticeship opportunities with the Department. The apprenticeship scheme affords mentorship support, education, paid on-the-job training and experience, professional development opportunities and sponsorship benefits.

These progammes speak directly to Goal #4 of the Strategy which ensures that a greater number of young people receive relevant work experience to better prepare them for gainful employment.

Mr. Speaker,

Goal #5 of the Strategy is to improve public access to relevant labour market information and career opportunities. The work of the Labour Market Review working group, will be translated into clear digestible formats through social media, marketing ads and other forms of communication to better connect with young people. Ensuring access to this information promotes strategic and informed decisions when choosing a career path.

Data gathering is a two way street. Unfortunately, over the past several years we have not been able to ascertain where our young people are studying for their tertiary education, what degrees they are pursuing and their projected graduation date. The Department of Workforce Development will make upgrades to the Job Board to collect this data by the end of this fiscal period. This data will be used to project capacity in the job market.

BEDC

Mr. Speaker,

It is now well known that entrepreneurship can be a viable option in terms of job satisfaction and overcoming difficulties in finding employment. As the BEDC is actively supporting and growing Bermuda’s entrepreneurial eco-system, BEDC has developed programmes to help our young people succeed in jobs, and entrepreneurship.

The BEDC’s Summer Student Entrepreneurship Programme launched in 2018, is building Bermuda’s next generation entrepreneurs. To date it has seen entrepreneurs, between the ages of 13 and 24, bring over 50 new jobs to the market solidifying entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.

Mr. Speaker,

As a young person there’s nothing more exciting than competition.

To create an environment where constructive competition in the business market is encouraged, the BEDC’s Annual Youth Pitch competition inspires youth between the ages of 14 and 18 to develop and pitch a business idea. Many students have pitched entrepreneurial ideas with some continuing on to start their businesses in Bermuda.

Since launching BEDC’s Enterprise Bermuda Incubator programme in 2018, 30 start-ups have been incubated bringing 80 new jobs to market.

BEDC’s New Start-ups Payroll Tax Relief programme launched in 2018/19 has facilitated 85 businesses bringing 150 new jobs to the market.

The number of persons seeking a vending license from BEDC has increased with 322 vending licenses being approved since 2020. A number of these include licenses approved for our young people.

Mr. Speaker,

The initiatives shared, highlights this Government’s effort to encourage and develop our youth to enable them to thrive and experience fruitful lives within our community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Workforce Development and the BEDC for the work they are doing to help us get our young people working.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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