WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7: A new Jobs Corps for Bermuda’s young jobs hunters will cost $6 million to set up and around the same a year to run.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Patrice Minors said the programme would be residential and based in the former Harmony Club hotel in Paget, at present used to house Government workers.

But Ms Minors said that funding for the scheme would be sought to find financial backing for the Jobs Corps from the private sector to cut the cost to Government.

Last month the Department of Statistics revealed that youth unemployment was 36 per cent with 1,176 people looking for a job out of 3,295.

Ms Minors said: “It is my belief that collectively we, the Government and the private sector, will work together to prepare our young people to make a meaningful contribution both socially and professionally, resulting in jobs that they can be proud of and productive young people that Bermuda can be proud of.”

The Jobs Corps programme will teach a mix of academic and vocational skills and work to improve social skills and employability and will also include on-the-job experience.

Ms Minors said she had heard criticism that the programme was taking too long to set up — but insisted proper planning and consultation was vital to its success.

She said a public consultation meeting had already been held and two more were scheduled to take place before the end of the month.

Ms Minors added that a more user-friendly work permit policy could be in force within weeks — also signalled in last Friday’s Throne Speech.

She said: “The proposed policy amendments seek to remove many of the barriers, real and perceived, associated with Bermuda being open for and to business.

“As a result, the proposals are broad and aggressive.  Some of the proposals contained in the 2012 Work Permit Policies are recommendations from stakeholders.

Reduce

“In other instances the changes seek to reduce the administrative burden associated with the work permit application process while adhering to the philosophy of the Government. Against this backdrop, I am confident that the new policies represent a win-win for the people of Bermuda.”

Ms Minors explained the second draft of the new approach to work permits would be with a special group, which includes members of the international business community, within a week.

She said the group would make their final comments or propose amendments.

But Ms Minors added: “I expect the new policy will be implemented soon thereafter. The community can expect a balanced policy, one that is designed to create mutually beneficial conditions for the establishment of new businesses in Bermuda and one that also makes it easy for businesses that moved to other jurisdictions to return.

“The new policy recognizes that we live in a global marketplace and positions Bermuda to compete more effectively.”