THURSDAY, MARCH 29: Today the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Hon. Patrice K. Minors JP, MP, announced a policy change regarding the moratorium on landscape gardeners.

The Ministry, and in particular the Department of Labour and Training, remains very keen on ensuring that Bermudians who are willing and able to work, enter into the varied fields of employment for which they have a genuine interest.

Minister Minors pointed out that “it has always been and continues to be a top priority to ensure that Bermudians who are currently unemployed are properly placed in jobs where there is a need”.

She said that the Ministry takes a balanced approach to work permits. This approach ensures that the needs of our employers are met and that Bermudians have ample opportunities for jobs. 

The public will recall that in February 2011, the Ministry introduced a work permit moratorium for the categories of landscape gardeners, cleaners, kitchen and bar porters, housekeepers and skilled labourers.

In total, 157 jobs were created for Bermudians as a result of this policy. The landscaping moratorium has also resulted in new institutions being formed and training opportunities created to help Bermudians.

One involved the creation of the Landscapers Association which has been working closely with the Ministry these past several months to address industry concerns regarding staffing levels.

As a result of this dialogue, Minister Minors said, “During the moratorium period, the Landscapers Association have been very active in advocating on behalf of the industry, working to establish training standards and proving to be a valuable stakeholder group, and we want to applaud their dedication and commitment. And in a show of good faith on the Ministry’s part, I intend to lift the moratorium on ‘renewal applications which have not reached term limit’ for the landscape gardener category.”

In an effort to spurn interest at an earlier age of career development, the Landscapers Association has agreed to collaborate with the Department of Labour and Training in the establishment of a summer training programme that will see young persons from our senior schools afforded the opportunity to work for pay with member companies of the Landscape Association.
Details of this initiative will be provided in due course according to the Ministry.

Minister Minors added, “It is felt that this early introduction to landscaping and a possible broader career in horticulture may prove of great interest to participants and in due course lead to increased enrolment in the Horticulture program at the Bermuda College.

“Those who are presently interested in this field are encouraged to enrol in the next Bermuda College course which will run from May 14 to July 13, 2012.”

Participants must attend classes Monday to Wednesday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and participate in the on-site practical training on Thursdays and Fridays.

In closing the Minister encouraged anyone who is currently unemployed to contact the Department of Labour and Training insert contact details and hotline number (297-7631) to become registered and take part in any training services they may need.