Apprenticeship Program Exceeds Standards

January 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Department of Workforce Development’s [DWD] Apprenticeship Program ”not only meets but exceeds the recommended standards,” set by the International Labour Organization [ILO], the Ministry said today.

A Government spokesperson said, “The International Labour Organization [ILO] sets global standards for labour-related issues, including apprenticeship programs, to promote decent work and employment opportunities worldwide. In the assessment of the Department of Workforce Development’s [DWD] Apprenticeship Program, we are pleased to report that the ILO found our apprenticeship program aligns with the foundational principles outlined in the Quality Apprenticeships Recommendation, 2023 [No. 208], adopted at the 111th International Labour Conference. Bermuda’s Apprenticeship Program not only meets but exceeds the recommended standards, reflecting the commitment to fostering a robust and equitable workforce development system.”

Minister of Economy and Labour Jason Hayward said, “I am proud to share that the Department of Workforce Development’s Apprenticeship Program surpassed the rigorous standards set by the International Labour Organization [ILO]. Our commitment to continuous improvement is evident through fruitful collaborations with the ILO, particularly in certifying prior learning and exploring apprenticeships in the blue and green economy.

“By actively participating in the ILO Skills Fair on Quality Apprenticeships, we emphasize transparency, collaboration, and the pursuit of a skilled and adaptable workforce. The recent legislative milestones further solidify our dedication to fostering diversity and inclusion. Bermuda’s Apprenticeship Program not only meets but exceeds ILO guidelines, embodying a forward-looking approach that aligns seamlessly with our national strategies for youth empowerment, workforce development, and economic growth.”

Ms. Ilca Webster, Skills and Lifelong Learning Specialist at the Decent Work Team of the ILO Caribbean Office, citing Bermuda’s Apprenticeship Program as a well-built example of quality apprenticeships in the Caribbean Region, highlighted the important contributions of Quality Apprenticeship Systems. “Based on strong social dialogue, a solid regulatory framework, inclusiveness, relevance to the labour market and the continuous engagement of numerous stakeholders who have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, they are key to improve labour market prospects for youth while developing high-level skills identified by employers as necessary to support increased growth and productivity,” said Ms. Webster.

ILO Collaboration Highlights:

The Government spokesperson said, “Recognizing the importance of continuous improvement and collaboration, the DWD and ILO have identified key areas for joint efforts. One significant initiative involves the certification of prior learning [PLAR], aiming to recognize and validate the skills and knowledge apprentices bring to the program. This collaboration ensures that the apprenticeship experience and skills are inclusive and responsive to individual learners’ needs, contributing to a more adaptable and effective workforce. Further collaboration is possible with The Bahamas as they are currently developing their apprenticeship framework.

Exploring Blue and Green Economy Apprenticeships:

“In line with global trends and the growing importance of sustainability, the DWD and ILO are working together to explore apprenticeships in the blue and green economy. This strategic collaboration acknowledges the transformative potential of apprenticeships in emerging sectors, aligning workforce development with environmental and economic sustainability goals. The partnership reflects a forward-looking approach that anticipates the future skill needs of the labour market and aligns with the Economic Development Strategy: Focus on Growth Opportunities and New Industries.

Participation in the ITC-ILO Skills Fair:

“To showcase the achievements and opportunities within the Apprenticeship Program, the Department of Workforce Development will actively participate in the upcoming online International Training Centre of the ILO [ITC-ILO] Skills Fair on Quality Apprenticeships [online]. This platform provides an excellent opportunity to engage with stakeholders, share best practices, and foster dialogue around the importance of quality apprenticeships in shaping a skilled and adaptable workforce. The DWD’s involvement emphasizes the commitment to transparency, collaboration, and continuous improvement within the apprenticeship framework.

Regulation and Legislative Framework:

“The ILO was pleased to see the passing of amendments to the National Training Board Act and the new Certification and Apprenticeship Board. This was seen as a significant milestone that underscores our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce. We spoke about the importance of embracing diversity, including persons with intellectual disabilities, and we will work together to enhance the apprenticeship program initiatives to align seamlessly with the Youth Employment Strategy [Vulnerable Youth and STEAM Education], National Workforce Development Plan, and the Economic Development Strategy.

“The Department of Workforce Development’s Apprenticeship Program embraces the standards set by the ILO not only meeting but exceeding them. The ongoing collaboration between the DWD and ILO in areas such as certification of prior learning and exploring apprenticeships in the blue and green economy demonstrates a commitment to innovation and responsiveness to evolving labour market needs. Participation in the Skills Fair further underscores the DWD’s dedication to promoting quality apprenticeships and engaging with stakeholders for the betterment of Bermuda’s workforce.”

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