NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A $50-million initiative of the Government of The Bahamas and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recently announced the formation of its first official council of industry advisors.
The Skills for Current and Future Jobs in The Bahamas program established a Maritime Sector Skills Council.
The program is a five-year initiative created to increase the employability of Bahamians and improve their access to quality local jobs.
It consists of apprenticeship training and investments in infrastructure and software for the Ministry of Labour.
Three high-growth sectors have been identified as having the greatest need for local labour: maritime, medical and allied services, and information and communications technology (ICT).
These sectors will participate in the Bahamas Apprenticeship Program which includes both technical and on-the-job training in the respective sectors.
Each sector will be represented by a sector skills council comprised of industry experts that advise on the skills that are requested by the industry and should be included in the apprenticeship training process.
The sector skills councils are also a key sustainable development component of the industries beyond the life of the program.
The Maritime Sector Skills Council is composed of these members from the maritime industry: Lieutenant Delvonne Duncombe, Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Don Forbes, Grand Bahama Shipyard; Richard McCombe, Arawak Port Development; Dr. Brenda Cleare, LJM Maritime Academy; Captain Elvin Taylor, The Mailboat Association; Doug Cowper, Tropical Shipping Company; and Chandler Sands, Aquamarine Agency.
According to Reginald Saunders, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Labour, the Skills for Current and Future Jobs in The Bahamas program is an important part of the Ministry’s mandate to match Bahamian job-seekers with employment opportunities.
“The maritime industry is one of the fastest growing industries in The Bahamas,” said Saunders.
“There are jobs available but it is challenging for employers to find Bahamians who are qualified to fill those jobs.
“The Maritime Sector Skills Council will play a critical role in ensuring that the Bahamas Apprenticeship Program provides relevant training and that the graduates of the program have the necessary skills to succeed in the maritime industry now and in the future.”
The Bahamas Apprenticeship Program will begin in 2020 with a Maritime Apprenticeship Program to be announced and a Pre-Apprenticeship Program scheduled to begin in January.
The Pre-Apprenticeship Program is for people between 16-26 years old who require assistance to meet the qualifications needed for entry to a sector Apprenticeship Program.
In addition to basic numeracy and literacy skills, the Pre-Apprenticeship Program will teach soft skills such as communication, conflict resolution and time management.
To find out more information about the Skills for Current and Future Jobs in The Bahamas program and to apply for the Pre-Apprenticeship Program please call the Department of Labour at (242) 302-2550 or visit www.bahamas.gov.bs/labour.