Mr Speaker, I rise today to introduce the National Training Board’s Annual Report for the fiscal years 2019/2020 to 2022/2023, in accordance with Section 11(1) of the National Training Board Act 1997.
Mr Speaker, I apologise to this Honourable House for the delay. The delayed production of this Report is due to many factors however, the Report tabled is a consolidated report. The Report highlights the important work carried out by the National Training Board and the Department of Workforce Development over four fiscal periods.
Mr Speaker, The main purpose of workforce development is to equip the workers within the local labour market with the necessary tools required to remain competitive. The programs offered provide a cost-effective way to re-tool, upskill, and earn additional degrees and certifications. Investing in the local workforce will also encourage both local and international businesses to consider hiring within the local talent pool.
Mr Speaker, Over the four years reported the team at the Department of Workforce Development has worked passionately to create educational training opportunities that allowed thousands of Bermudians to capacity build and gain the technical and readiness skills needed for employment in Bermuda.
Mr. Speaker, An important milestone in the years under review was the development of Bermuda’s National Youth Employment Strategy. The Government recognised that there was a need to support our young people as they embark on their career journey. The Youth Employment Strategy was developed in 2021 to address unemployment by facilitating greater opportunities and educational pathways for all young Bermudians between 18 – 26 years of age.
Mr Speaker, The introduction of the Youth Employment Strategy exemplifies this Government’s commitment to empowering its younger population. This forward- thinking initiative aims to address the unique challenges faced by youth in the workforce and provides solutions to enhance their employability and foster career development. The strategy encompasses a range of programmes, including targeted training, mentorship opportunities, and internships designed to bridge the transition from education to employment seamlessly.
Mr Speaker, By focusing on the specific needs of young people, the Youth Employment Strategy not only aims to reduce unemployment rates for this demographic of the population but also seeks to cultivate a skilled and resilient workforce which is able to meet the needs of Bermuda’s future.
Mr Speaker, during the reporting period and in keeping with the Youth Employment Strategy, the Graduate Trainee Programme was introduced. This programme stands as a testament to the government’s commitment to nurturing emerging talent and fostering the next generation of leaders. This initiative has proven to be a resounding success, bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical workplace skills. Graduates who have completed this programme have seamlessly integrated into the workforce, bringing fresh perspectives as they contribute to their respective fields.
Mr Speaker, The Department continues to raise the standard of Bermuda’s workforce through National Certification for the trades, apprenticeships, and employment readiness programmes. The Department made excellent progress in securing National Certification in the designated occupations for over two hundred persons. The total number of individuals certified as of the 2019/2020 is two hundred and three (203).
Mr Speaker, the Department of Workforce Development remains dedicated to apprenticeships. The team continues to successfully engage industry partners to develop opportunities for full-time employment and training for apprentices. By providing individuals with the opportunity to learn and work simultaneously, we not only address individual skill gaps but also support the growth of a versatile and dynamic workforce. These initiatives contribute to the overall economic development of our community, fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional advancement. In 2022/23, Apprenticeship Trainee Awards were granted to fifty-two (52) Bermudians who received training and development in education, technical and vocational areas.
Mr Speaker, over the reporting period, our workforce development programmes have achieved remarkable success, making a substantial impact on individuals and the community at large. A key highlight is the allocation of almost a million dollars ($1,000,000) in scholarship support, providing financial assistance to countless aspiring professionals seeking to enhance their skills and contribute meaningfully to the local workforce. This investment has not only facilitated access to education and training opportunities but has also empowered individuals to pursue fulfilling careers, positively influencing their lives and the broader economy.
Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the National Training Board, the Department of Workforce Development and our industry partners who work closely with the government to ensure our training and development programmes are successful. Their combined efforts will ensure Bermudians gain access to opportunities and excel within Bermuda’s workforce.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.