THE Department of Labour in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour will be hosting a construction job fair tomorrow at the Kendal Isaacs Gym.
There will be approximately 30 employers in attendance, all seeking to employ Bahamians.
Additionally, the Department of Labour is inviting all those in the construction field to attend the fair and register themselves in the department’s database. Having Bahamians registered could help reduce the presence of foreigners in the industry, said Director of Labour Robert Farquharson.
This includes everyone from plumbers, electricians, carpenters, masons, and air-conditioner technicians to qualified quantity surveyors, site engineers and project managers, Mr Farquharson said at a press conference at the Department of Labour.
The event is scheduled for noon to 4pm Saturday.
“Over the past few months, officials from the Department of Labour have observed an increase in the requests for non-Bahamian workers in the construction industry,” Mr Farquharson said.
“These applications have raised very serious concerns due to the fact that thousands of Bahamians, with tremendous skills in the construction field, remain unemployed.
“This construction fair will allow the staff of the Public Employment Services Unit of the Department of Labour to register these unemployed skilled Bahamians in our newly upgraded database, while simultaneously exposing these trained, qualified and experienced workers with opportunities to be hired by over 25 construction companies that will be present at the job fair.
“The Department of Labour is very pleased to partner with the Bahamas Contractors Association to make this job fair a reality and we are confident that our combined efforts will make an impact on the unemployment statistics in the country.”
Mr Farquharson also said that Minister of Labour Dion Folks will be in attendance at the fair, assisting in the registration.
BTVI, the National Training Agency, the University of the Bahamas and Atlantis will all be in attendance.
Mr Farquharson said: “Atlantis has indicated that they too are looking for people to work in their engineering department…They hired some 43 persons from the last fair we had.
“Come out, be interviewed. We invite you to bring your resume if you have it, any references, bring government issued ID which is your passport or your voter’s card, and your National Insurance card. Those things are going to be extremely important for us to register in our database. If you have an email address, bring that too. If you do not have an email address, still come. We will assign an email address to you while you attend the fair.”
When asked how the government will be able to reduce construction companies hiring non-Bahamians, Mr Farquharson said: “If it is brought to our attention, the Department of Labour is responsible for issuing labour certificates. No Bahamians should be disenfranchised particularly in the construction field.
“All of those persons who are coming to the Bahamas to work in that field should come to us and apply for labour certificates. That labour certificate is submitted through the Department of Immigration as part of the application for work permit. No work permit should be given without a labour certificate. Once it comes to our attention, one of the concerns we have is so many persons who are site engineers, who are qualified project managers, do not come to us to register. We can only issue a labour certificate based on the amount of information in our database. And that’s one of the reasons why we encourage professionals…. to come and apply to register in our database. So when another application comes in for surveyor or a project manager or a site superintendent, we can deny that application and say ‘here are 15 Bahamians who are qualified.’”