Bermudians are set to get the chance to sail the seven seas working on cruise ships, Premier Craig Cannonier revealed tonight.

Mr Cannonier said: “We set up a job opportunities programme that will see Bermudians working on the Norwegian Cruise Lines ships, with NCL recruiters here this month to begin job interviews.”

He added that younger people would benefit from the Careers Pathway programme, which has been expanded to include Year 3 and 4 pupils from September.

Mr Cannonier said: “This initiative is so important that we’ve asked the Board of Education to consider making the programme a component for senior school graduation.”

Mr Cannonier was speaking as he delivered a “State of the Onion” address to the country tonight, outlining the OBA’s achievements in its first six months or so in office.

Mr Cannonier repeated warnings that recovery for Bermuda’s reeling economy would take time and effort.

He said: “There are a thousand things to do before we’re out of the woods. It is not going to be easy. There is no magic wand to wave, there is no quick fix.

“It will take time and patience, with steady leadership focused on the big and little things, with all of us working together, playing our part.

“Our goal is to renew the promise of Bermuda, to shake off past mistakes and reposition the island to meet people’s needs.”

Mr Cannonier added that the school day would be extended to benefit students, while municipal government would be reformed.

At the same time, new standards have been introduced for teachers in the core subjects of English, maths and science.

He said: “Some issues will ask you to support change that you’re not yet comfortable with. Do not give in to scaremongering and remember that we Bermudians control our destiny, no one else.

“What we do is up to us, no one else. We make the rules, we make the decisions.

“Through it all we must do our best to work together – to look beyond differences that so often keep us apart.

“All of us have a role to play in the renewal of Bermuda, because all of us are in this boat together.”

Elsewhere in the speech, Mr Cannonier outlined Government achievements since it took office last December, including axing work permit term limits and cutting back on red tape to make the island more attractive to investors and boost job prospects for Bermudians.

 Mr Cannonier added that a payroll tax exemption for new Bermudian hires made them more attractive to employers.

And he pointed to the Cabinet Economic Development Committee, which reduced the time needed to gain approval for large projects, including the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Hamilton Princess Hotel.

Mr Cannonier added that – to try and cut mushrooming debt – Ministries how had to file monthly reports on their spending, while a new SAGE Commission is looking at how to balance the books.

And he said: “We set responsible targets for how much we can borrow – and for the cost of that borrowing – against what the Government takes in.”

Mr Cannonier added gun violence was being tackled through a mediation scheme, as well as through extra police recruits.

And changes to the FutureCare health programme for the elderly meant everyone paid the same price for coverage, while Financial Assistance rules had changed to allow for community service, drugs counselling and life skills programmes as a condition of help.