For the young people living in a technological age among a struggling, stagnant, debt-burdened economy, which Bermuda’s Government has thus far failed to adequately advance since before the Covid pandemic, the situation may appear dire, if economic indicators and independent experts in the field are to be believed.
Double-digit inflation relative to food prices, upward spiralling unemployment, overly taxed welfare programmes, an emmigration impacted tax regime have all served to diminish hope among many native Bermudians, as to the long-term viability of living in the country of their upbringing.
Bermuda College lecturer has advised Bermudians to better educate themselves in areas of employment in demand and to take on more of an entreprenueurial spirit, but to vigilantly guard their intellectual property and knowledge assets.
“These are very tough times for people that don’t have skills and don’t have education,” said Mr. Craig Simmons during the course of a wide ranging interview with TNN’s Trevor Lindsay, which we have published in two parts see the story:
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“The other part, which is something that people of my era wouldn’t have had, is this thing called the internet, which gives you access to information in a way that is really unprecedented.
“So, if we can figure out ways to leverage the assets that we have we can benefit financially and ease the burden and one of these assets is the internet.
“But stay away from social media, because all you are doing is enriching someone else. On social media you are giving away what’s going on between your ears, so that they can come back to you and say, ‘Do you want to buy that?’.
“You may not have the money to buy what they’re selling, but don’t give information away unless you’re getting paid for it. Use the internet to grow that muscle between your ears and always be looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.”
More so affected by unemployment are young persons that fall in the entry level category, which Mr. Simmons said was not unusual nor unexpected, neither should those in this group despair.
“One thing you never want to take from a human being is hope, but I understand that the reality on the ground for young people is very difficult,” continued the economist. “I think the youth unemployment rate is around 30%, but that’s not unusual because youth unemployment is going to be higher, because if I’m an employer I want someone who comes fully loaded with the knowledge to flip a burger or mix concrete or do whatever it is I need done.
“It’s unfortunate for young people just entering the workforce, that they don’t have those skills and that’s something that is supposed to be worked on and supplied as part of the education system.
“It’s a part of creating apprenticeships, so that we can better prepare our young people to enter the workforce or indeed start their own businesses.”
As for when might be envisaged a positive growth cycle for the local economy Mr. Simmons told how the answer varied, “depending on who you ask”, but, with the world banking sector currently poised to head into a third week of existential questions and whipsaw volatility despite official efforts to stabilize markets and reassure depositors, while the search for causes, lessons, and blame continues, there is rising talk of an impending new global recession, which could well signal a major depression for Bedmuda.
Yet Simmons, rapidly approaching retirement appeared unfazed as to his personal status.“Mr. Craig Simmons is living a very good life,” he said in typical self-deprecating manner. “I’m old I’ve worked for the last 40 years. I’ve saved a penny or two.
“But a lot of my brethren haven’t the luxury of post-secondary education and I watch my brothers struggle to make ends meet. So, for folks that don’t have the skills, life in Bermuda is extremely challenging and it doesn’t look rosy for the future.”
However, Simmons advised youngster to learn or skill themselves in a physical trade at the very least, eagerly pointing out that not only are those of an unskilled nature under potential threat, rather many in white collar positions may well find their livelihoods in peril due to advances in technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI).
“At threat from AI are, in fact, white collar jobs,” he said. “So, if you’re just graduating from law school you may just be replaced by a law-bot or if you are an accountant there’s probably going to be a bot that could replace a junior accountant, so a lot of white collar jobs are under threat from this new technology.
“In that sense the trades are something that we haven’t been pushing here, when you continually listen to talk about the closure of the Bermuda Technical Institute.
“So, if you are a young male or female learn a trade. Plumbing, carpentry, electrician and masonry that’s where you want to go.
“It opens a door to entrepreneurship, and run your own business or you can go and work for someone else. It’s an extremely powerful place for a young person to be, you always will be needed.”
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