By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
JOB seekers in the construction industry were yesterday urged to take advantage of a "first-ever" opportunity to register their skills directly with potential employers via a 'job fair' later this month.
Leonard Sands, the Bahamian Contractors Association's (BCA) president, praised the Department of Labour for partnering with it in the initiative. Dion Foulkes, minister of labour, described the job fair as one of three major initiatives designed to actively respond to the needs of job seekers and employers.
Mr Sands, meanwhile, said that while thousands of Bahamians are employed in the construction sector, there is no skills database for contractors to access when seeking workers.
"We know that there are thousands of persons employed in this industry, but we don't really know who is out there because persons in the construction industry don't go and register their skills," he said.
"We see this initiative as a really good opportunity for persons to let their skills be known, and a great opportunity for companies to get the talent they need. If companies are able to source the skills they need locally then they wouldn't need to have to seek it from abroad, and the need for the granting of work permits would be reduced as well and unemployment numbers would decrease."
The job fair, which is specifically focused on construction industry job seekers and employers, is planned for Saturday, January 20, at the Kendal G. L. Isaacs Gymnasium from 12 noon to 4pm.
"We have already confirmed over 20 construction companies which will be participating. We encourage all job seekers in construction-related areas to come on out and be interviewed on the spot by construction companies," said Mr Foulkes.
He added that the the traditional methods of job seeking and employee engagement will no longer be the only source of job placement.
"I see it as a positive step," said Mr Sands. "The Department of Labour had asked us how best they thought we could go about determining what the needs are in the industry, and address the needs of persons looking for work."
The Labour Department yesterday held a seminar for employers on New Providence to introduce them to the new interactive PES website and PCRecruiter. The goal of the seminar was to provide employers with access to the resumes of eligible Bahamian job seekers locally and abroad, and enable them to upload job vacancies directly to the system.
This coming Saturday, the Department's 'Labour on the Blocks' initiative will be officially introduced in the Bain and Grants Town constituency. That job recruitment and registration drive will take place on the Sarah Ingraham Park at Hospital Lane and Dumping Ground Corner. Job seekers in the area are encouraged to come out and register between 11 am and 3 pm.