The Throne Speech, delivered by Governor Sir Richard Gozney, said “the Jobs Corps scheme will  provide students with classroom theory and practical learning  experiences that will contribute to success in the workforce and life.” *Photo by Kageaki Smith
The Throne Speech, delivered by Governor Sir Richard Gozney, said “the Jobs Corps scheme will provide students with classroom theory and practical learning experiences that will contribute to success in the workforce and life.” *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4: A new one-stop job shop is to be set up to help jobless Bermudians back into the world of work, Government said on Friday.

And a new Jobs Corps programme is to be set up to provide free education and training to maximise career opportunities.

The Throne Speech, delivered by Governor Sir Richard Gozney, said: “By integrating the teaching of academic knowledge, vocational and employability skills and social competencies, the Jobs Corps scheme will provide students with classroom theory and practical learning experiences that will contribute to success in the workforce and life.”

The public-private partnership scheme is expected to be up and running by the second quarter of next year.

Premier Paula Cox said afterwards that jobs were “the number one priority” for Government and that new measures would be introduced to make it easier for employers to create new jobs.

The career centre will be formed from a merger of the National Training Board and the Department of Labour and Training.

Sir Richard said: “This has been identified as a priority in order to more efficiently meet the needs of both job-seekers and employers.

“The centre will be an active participant in the Jobs Corps programme, assisting successful graduates of the programme in finding gainful employment.

“It will coordinate with the unit that processes work permits, ensuring that work permits will only be granted after the career centre has confirmed that there are no suitably qualified Bermudians available for the position.”

People claiming Financial Assistance will also be automatically signed up at the career centre to help boost their chances of finding work.

In addition, the YES job creation scheme will employ young Bermudians on the renovations of the National Trust’s Springfield property in Sandys, which is leased to Government as a community centre.

Sir Richard added that Government had also negotiated with networking products and services firm Cisco Systems to set up a training centre in Bermuda.

He said: “The workplace has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Many job categories have already gone the way of the dinosaur while new categories are being created.

“These new jobs often require different skills. For example, information technology is on the leading edge of job creation. There is an urgent need for the training and retraining of Bermudian workers to equip them to take advantage of these opportunities.”

The Government blueprint for new Parliamentary session also said that the private sector was the main job creator — although Government could help.

Sir Richard said that changes in legislation would be tabled this session to provide work permit exemptions and permanent residence to overseas job creators.

He added, however, that candidates would have to show significant numbers of Bermudians at all levels of their businesses and provide entry-level posts for graduates and school-leavers.

Immigration law is also set for an overhaul, with foreign property purchases likely to be made easier and restrictions on legal barriers to home ownership for non-Bermudian members of Bermudian families eased.

Sir Richard added: “At the same time, legislation will be amended to remove certain incentives that allow employers to choose to hire non-Bermudians over Bermudians because they don not have to pay social insurance for people on temporary work permits or include work permit holders in occupational pension schemes.

“At a time when there is a disturbing level of unemployment, there is a greater need for more robust measures that protect Bermudians and encourage their employment.”

But the Throne Speech said that foreign investment will also be encouraged and review of the Companies Act is underway, which is likely to recommend easing of the 60/40 ownership rule to allow Bermudian businesses easier access to overseas capital injections.

Sir Richard said: “Previously when discussions were held, there was both more resistance and a more protectionist stance adopted by stakeholders. That has changed. Given today’s economic landscape, there is apparent agreement between all business sectors that they need greater access to capital. In effect, today’s mantra now states ‘Free up Bermuda’.”

The island will also be marketed in the Arab world to attract fresh investment — with the possibility of new air links to oil rich states like Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain from Emirates Airlines.