New graduates face ‘roadblocks’ to employment when returning home to the Caribbean

Bermuda minister, Cayman political aspirant urge local businesses to provide new graduates with relevant experience for gainful employment 

HAMILTON, BERMUDA — Speaking to challenges of immigration and the labour market during a recent Territories Talk panel, Bermuda Minister of Labour Jason Hayward said new graduates who studied abroad and returned home are facing a “roadblock” in terms of finding gainful employment.

He noted that while new graduates may be equipped with the appropriate skills, many lack career experience that has now become necessary for employment.

Bermuda Minister of Labour Jason Hayward.

“Our young people are coming in from school and they are facing a roadblock because they don’t have the experience required for them to enter into the job market,” the minister said.

“But if every entry-level job requires some level of experience, how will our young people be integrated into the world of work?”

Inspire Cayman Founder Michael Myles.

Fellow panelist Michael Myles, of the Cayman Islands, acknowledged a similar struggle in his home country, but attributed it to a lack of communication between local ministries of labour and immigration.

“So, these youngsters go through four years of college or four years of training or whatever they’re doing, and all of a sudden they come back to the island and there’s no jobs,” Myles lamented.

“So, they sit — many of them — either working in industries or working in jobs that are beneath, really, where they were expecting to be at because no information, no preparation was shared.”

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    How to solve the roadblock?

    Both panelists suggested the local business community can play a role in addressing the roadblock many new graduates in the Caribbean face in finding employment when they return home.

    A silhouette of a group of new graduates.

    For his part, Hayward suggested, “It certainly is one’s personal responsibility to ensure that they position themselves to take advantage of opportunities that exist, whether it be employment opportunities or business opportunities.

    “But secondly, once one gets in position and becomes a business owner, it’s incumbent on that individual to open up the door to create opportunities for others, especially persons within that particular community.”

    Myles likewise encouraged businesses to take on mentorship roles, accepting new graduates as apprentices or even interns who can then gain the relevant experience to become exemplary employees.

    He said, “I think if more businesses open their doors to more young people in terms of apprenticeships or even internships, they’ll find out these kids have these skills and they can provide good training for them and eventually they have a good employee because they would have nurtured that talent.”

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