PLP leadership candidate Terry Lister. *File photo
PLP leadership candidate Terry Lister. *File photo
Directing students to the right careers could be part of the solution to the island’s unemployment problem, according to PLP leadership hopeful Terry Lister.

Mr. Lister believes a statistical breakdown of the positions and professions held by guest workers could be used to fuel career choices for Bermudians.

He said the information could be used to target young people to the professions most in need of Bermudians. He agreed with Minister Burch’s clampdown on work permits in the construction and landscaping fields.

But he insisted more draconian regulation of work permits or “closed categories”, which limit certain professions to Bermudians only, was not the answer.

He said training and equipping locals for the needs of the island’s workforce was a big part of the solution.

Mr. Lister added: “We are responsible for building the people first. We really need to be looking at job development and workforce development.

“We need to work with the National Training Board to develop people’s skills in these technical areas where we are short of Bermudians.

“For example, if the stats show us there are 30 technicians — 15 of them work in the hospital, 15 of them in the private sector — and of those 30, 10 are Bermudians, we have to look at the qualifications for those jobs and see if we can find 10 kids who can go and secure those qualifications.”

Mr. Lister said analysis has been done in the past of the types of job fields most in need of Bermudians.

But he added current data was needed and should be readily available to help young Bermudians make the correct career choices.

Mr. Lister said: “We have to go back and reproduce this information so people can see where the jobs are and know what they should be pushing for.”

The MP was speaking in the wake of a meeting he held on labour and immigration at Hamilton Parish Workman’s club.

His forum followed a Bermuda Sun Labour Day report detailing the problems of unemployed locals in the workforce.

There are currently about 1,600 Bermudians unemployed.

An influx of cheap foreign labour has been highlighted as part of the problem.

But others have also pointed to training and education gaps within Bermuda — something Mr. Lister said he would look to fix if he is elected to lead the country.