News Release HAMILTON, Bermuda It is with immense pleasure that I stand before you today to highlight the successful participants in the Skills Development Programme. This ceremony marks an important milestone for us all — a moment to celebrate the dedication, hard work, and accomplishments of the fourteen participants and three summer students who successfully completed the programme’s ninth cohort.

“Envisioned as a beacon of empowerment, the SDP has been a driving force in cultivating skills and nurturing talent among young men and women between 18 and 35 years of age. Its vision, rooted in the principles of providing not just vocational training but a foundation for life skills has guided its mission to empower participants and reinforce the importance of community activism and responsibility.

Today, we are not just acknowledging the completion of a programme; we are celebrating the journey of transformation that these individuals have embarked upon. The SDP is a testament to these participants’ commitment to bettering themselves, exploring their potential, and embracing opportunities.

“I am delighted to announce the successes achieved by our SDP participants. Some have secured full-time positions within the Department of Parks, Public Works and other government departments reflecting the SDP’s effectiveness in preparing our young people for gainful employment within our government institutions. Furthermore, others have secured positions within the private sector, displaying the broader impact and recognition of the skills honed through this initiative.

While we celebrate these achievements, it is essential to recognize that immediate outcomes do not solely define success. We eagerly await official confirmation for the two remaining participants who are in the final stages of securing full-time positions, reinforcing our confidence in the capabilities and preparedness instilled by the SDP. What this means is that virtually every member of the 9th cohort has secured full-time employment. This is precisely what this programme is designed to accomplish – light a passion in the participants for this type of work – awaken a social conscience – develop a positive work ethos – and provide full-time employment.

I am grateful to the Overseas Training Partnerships, most notably the Kingston Maurward College, and trainers Stephanie Addison and James Colville for their invaluable contributions to our local training sessions. This year, in addition to the Skills Development Programme participants, we extended that training to other departments and several outside agencies including Wedco, Coral Beach, Corporation of Hamilton, Youth and Sports, Port Royal Golf Course, Palm Grove Gardens and the Department of Parks.

I would also like to express appreciation to our local trainers, notably those from the Department of Parks, including Caven Bradshaw-Williams, Alberto DaPonte, Sergio Griffin, Jimmy Harvey, Khari Martin, Roger Parris, Nelson Pimental, William Seymour, Damon Virgil, Jermaine Wilson, and Tracey Wright. Your guidance, expertise, and dedication have been instrumental in shaping our participants’ journey.

I must also acknowledge Mr Dahkari Wade for his commendable pursuit of education at Trent Nottingham University in the UK, embodying the spirit of continuous learning and growth.

As we celebrate these achievements, let us not forget the core values that drive the SDP — values centered on enhancing knowledge, skills, and experience. The programme has equipped participants with technical skills and fostered a safe environment that promotes trust, teamwork, and positive relationships, paving the way for personal and professional growth.

I must also acknowledge the partnership with the Bermuda Industrial Union – who have been with us from the very beginning, and I express my sincere thanks for this partnership. Today is a testament to the success of the SDP and the participants who have embraced its ethos. The impact of this programme extends far beyond the individual achievements we celebrate today — it resonates within our communities, exemplifying the positive outcomes that arise when dedication meets opportunity.

None of this success would be possible without the vision, commitment, and dedication of Roger and Melody Parris. Their passion for helping our young people through this programme deserves the highest praise. Thank you, Roger & Melody.

Finally, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the graduates of Cohort 9. Your dedication, perseverance, and achievements serve as an inspiration to us all. I encourage you to continue embracing new challenges and wish you nothing but success in your future endeavors. Please join me in acknowledging their success.