By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Department of Labour has registered 2,500 job seekers through its 'Labour on the Blocks' events, as it moves to aggressively dent the Bahamas' 10 per cent unemployment rate.
Robert Farquharson, director of labour, told Tribune Business yesterday that the department registered some 1,300 persons during its most recent job fair on Grand Bahama.
"We had an extremely large number of Grand Bahamians turn out at the job fair on Grand Bahama," he said. "Approximately 1,500 persons turned out, and we registered some 1,300 persons in our database. Baha Mar took 600 applications for consideration. There were also a number of companies there from the industrial sector."
Mr Farquharson added that it was still too early to say how many persons had secured employment through the event, but this would be determined in about a week. He said the Labour Department plans to return to Grand Bahama for a second job fair, pointing out that once the Heads of Agreement for the sale of the Grand Lucayan is signed another 400-500 jobs will likely be created.
"We are looking forward to that coming on steam soon," he said. "Some repairs have to be conducted at the hotels as a result of hurricane damage, and that will create some jobs in construction," Mr Farquharson said, adding that the $5.5 billion Oban Energies project is also expected to generate employment on Grand Bahama.
Mr Farquharson said the next job fair is scheduled for this Saturday at the Golden Gates Park. "A significant amount of employers who will attend the job fair are looking to hire people on the spot; Baha Mar, Atlantis, Melia, SuperClubs Breezes and Warwick hotel have indicated a need to hire persons," he said.
"There will also be other companies from the private sector there." This Saturday's job fair will be the fourth by the Department of Labour this year, with a fifth planned for March 24.