FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – A one-day High School Technical and Industrial Forum and Exhibition was held at St. George’s Gymnasium on Friday, April 5 with the hopes of closing the existing skills gap for industry and technology.
Keynote speaker for the event, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis said opportunities exist for high school students to have successful careers in these areas.
Also in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest; Minister of Labour, Senator the Hon. Dion Foulkes; Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie Campbell; Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson; Permanent Secretaries and other senior government officials; several businesses and students from Grand Bahama and Bimini.
“For far too many years, the Government has had to approve work permits for non-Bahamians for technical and industrial positions that should be filled by Bahamians.
“The problem is that we do not have enough Bahamians properly trained to fill many of these positions.
“Bahamians are capable, resourceful and adaptable. But there are not enough Bahamians trained in a number of technical areas. With the expansion of our economy nationally, and on Grand Bahama, this is an even more urgent matter, especially as construction, our second largest industry will need many more employees and workers.”
He further stated, “Reduction of the skills gap in The Bahamas is critical in reducing unemployment, increasing productivity and improving the ease of doing business.”
The Technical and Industrial Forum is as a result of a symposium held in September 2018, under the theme, “Forging our future, assessing and analyzing the skills gap in The Bahamas.” At the event, over 150 leaders in industry, education, government and labour met “to craft a comprehensive approach to address the skills deficiency in our country.
The Prime Minister urged the students to stay focused, ask questions and make contacts during the Forum. He told them, “It is by persistence and perseverance that you will be able to achieve your goals.”