Madam President, the Government is committed to working with industry to identify training opportunities for Bermudians at all levels within the economy.

Madam President, our sophisticated international business sector is one area where creativity is crucial to career development for recent college graduates; particularly those seeking to secure employment in the insurance and reinsurance sectors.

Madam President, the international business sector increasingly requires individuals with highly specialized skills.  The ability to develop these skills on island has become increasingly difficult.  This notwithstanding, the presence of the many global companies on-island presents a significant opportunity for Bermuda’s college graduates.

To this end, the Ministry continues to work towards the finalization of an International Business Internship Programme.  In this regard we have commenced dialogue with stakeholders and businesses and I am pleased that the Lancashire Foundation, which is funded by Lancashire Holdings Limited, has seen the value of such a programme and yesterday announced the launch of an internship program for Bermudian graduates.

Madam President, Lancashire has advised that “two successful applicants will be sent to Lancashire’s UK office for two years to receive on the job training as underwriting assistants. The goal is to arm them with the skills necessary to achieve a job in the reinsurance industry in Bermuda on their return to the island.”

Madam President, the CEO of the company credits the Ministry’s proposed initiative as the catalyst for the development of the programme.  The internship programme was created via the company’s charitable foundation, the Lancashire Foundation Graduate Development Program, that is being used to train graduates and provide them with the skills they would need to gain entry to the reinsurance sector in Bermuda.

The Foundation plans to sponsor two Bermudian graduates, send them to their London office to learn the ropes in underwriting and hopefully equip them with the skills to have a future in the reinsurance sector in Bermuda. Assuming a successful pilot, the Program will be repeated and ultimately will become a permanent program for the on-going benefit of Bermudian students.

Madam President, this is a creative purpose built model that Lancashire has developed to support the development of Bermudian talent and today I encourage all of our global partners to consider similar programmes.  The Ministry will be reaching out to industry in the coming weeks to formalize this appeal with a view to working with more of our partners to secure opportunities for young college graduates in their global offices.

Madam President, I take this opportunity to thank the Group Chairman, Martin Thomas and the entire management team at Lancashire Holdings Limited for moving this programme forward.

Thank you Madam President.