LABOUR Director Robert Farquharson.
By LETRE SWEETING
Tribune Staff Reporter
LABOUR Director Robert Farquharson believes 40 per cent of the 12,000 work permits issued this year relate to jobs Bahamians can fill.
“In the domestic area, the farm labour area, in the handyman area, the majority of applicants come from Jamaica or Haiti. Those are the two major areas,” he said during a press conference yesterday.
“Many of the jobs that become available, most Bahamians are not interested in them. For instance, handymen, farm labourers, housekeepers, caretakers –– these are jobs that Bahamians don’t even apply for.
“You will be shocked at the amount of welders we have to approve every year. Welders are being paid $30 an hour, but you have to apply and when persons apply, we have to approve them because the employers are seeking these people to work.”
Mr Farquharson encouraged Bahamians to register with the Department of Labour to see available job opportunities.
He said the department’s online database has jobs available for more than 34 careers, including AC technicians, bankers, certified public accountants, cooks, teachers, bartenders, and more.
Mr Farquharson said for many of the jobs, certification is required.
“You don’t even need a degree; all you need is certification, and you could have a job,” he said. “But those people who are certified are not registering with us.
“You don’t need to have a degree in welding. You have to be certified as a welder. You don’t need to have a degree as an AC technician or a plumber. You need to be certified. Once you become certified either locally or internationally, jobs are available.
Mr Farquharson’s comments come as the department prepares to launch its registration drive on August 26 at the Department of Labour on Carmichael Road.
The Public Employment Services Unit also commenced a seven-week registration drive on August 21.
The purpose of the drive is to register more Bahamians in the department’s online skills bank to reduce the need for foreign labour.
Simone Thurston, acting assistant director of labour, said the database has existed for about 16 years; some 100,000 people are registered.
Officials said the Department of Labour hosted a job fair in Andros last week, resulting in Royal Caribbean International hiring 35 locals.