Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Patrice Minors said that Bermuda College "will soon offer a job preparation course, the Principles of Cleaning and Sanitation." *MCT photo
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Patrice Minors said that Bermuda College "will soon offer a job preparation course, the Principles of Cleaning and Sanitation." *MCT photo

FRIDAY, FEB. 3: A total of 25 kitchen porter work permit applications or appeals have recently been refused and Government will soon be offering a college course to make sure “Bermudians are prepared to assume these positions”.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Patrice Minors told the House of Assembly that the affected workers have been advised to settle their affairs and leave Bermuda.

Government placed a moratorium on work permits for landscape gardeners, kitchen porters, skilled labourers and cleaners a year ago to open up jobs for Bermudians.

Ms Minors said the processing of many work permit applications had been delayed over the last few months and kitchen porter work permits were the first to be looked at when processing resumed.

She added that employers were originally given an “aggressive timeline” for stop work notifications that had later been extended.

Ms Minors said: “While it’s understandable that many deemed the timeline to be short, it is important to note that these work permits had in fact already expired and all of the employers had benefited from continuity of service from these workers during the period that processing was delayed.”

She said Government was going to do its best to make sure Bermudians know how to do this job and the Bermuda College “will soon offer a job preparation course, the Principles of Cleaning and Sanitation.

“The Principles of Cleaning and Sanitation, covers the fundamental knowledge that is required to effectively clean, and sanitize surfaces and areas. 

“The course is expected to commence prior to the end of February and will be offered free of charge to qualified applicants. The objective is to provide practical training that leads to employment opportunities for Bermudians.”

Ms Minors added that nearly 600 people attended Government-sponsored training programmes last year – nearly three times the number the year before.

Ms Minors told MPs: “The huge increase in the number of people attending training programmes from 2010 to 2011 can be attributed in part to the department offering a wider selection of programmes and making these programmes available to the general public as opposed to limiting the offering to registered clients of the Department of Labour and Training.

“Sustained unemployment levels are, of course, another contributing factor.”

The Department of Labour and Training offers a variety of training programmes, including computer courses and personal finance courses. In addition, those who have lost their jobs can take part in sessions designed to ease the transition into another career.

Ms Minors also said that the department had assisted 19 people with scholarships for the Bermuda College, while at least four others had help with their tuition fees at Care Computer Learning Centre and the Adult Education Centre.

The National Training Board also entered into 18 contracts for apprenticeships last year and ten companies were given payroll tax relief on training and apprenticeship programmes for Bermudians.