Job opportunities abound in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration trades for locals who are prepared to get qualified.
That was the clear message from Brendan Stones, general manager of AirCare Ltd, speaking at the Hamilton Rotary Club in Paget.
He discussed the company’s commitment, successes and challenges in bringing Bermudians into the business.
“AirCare has been able to build a strong group of qualified Bermudians and spouses of Bermudians to compose our sales, accounting, warehouse and operational administrative roles,” Mr Stones said.
“There are no work permit holders within these divisions.
“Where we struggle, however, is finding and hiring qualified technicians in our HVAC and fire protection divisions. Of 38 technicians, 55 per cent are work permit holders,” he said.
He continued saying that the issue is much bigger than AirCare.
“The career opportunities for qualified Bermudians throughout the entire HVACR industry, which includes heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration, are plentiful,” he said.
AirCare has been in operation for 31 years offering heating, ventilation and air conditioning services.
The company is wholly owned subsidiary of Ascendant Group Ltd.
Its services include fire protection, LED lighting, energy management and efficiency through building automation systems, commercial plumbing, commercial refrigeration and ventilation, as well as air conditioning and heating.
They have more than 60 employees where 34 of them are locals and five are either Permanent Resident Certificate holders or spouses of Bermudians.
Bermuda College now offers two very relevant certification courses, the certificate in Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Technology, and the certificate in Plumbing Technology.
Besides the Bermuda National Certification, successful students walk away holding an NCCER certificate, which is internationally recognised.
“AirCare is absolutely committed to attracting more young Bermudians into this field,” Mr Stones said.
“As I mentioned earlier, the career opportunities for qualified Bermudians are abundant!”
Last year the company became more proactive in encouraging young Bermudians into the HVAC industry.
The company partnered up with the IMPACT Mentoring Academy to pilot a summer internship with one of their students, Stephen Paynter, who was fifteen years old at the time.
Mr Paynter spent eight weeks with AirCare, being mentored by experienced technicians and provided with both theoretical learning and hands-on experience on a range of projects around the island. It proved to be a win, win, win situation.
“He got real life hands on experience and exposure to a range of career paths that he has never considered previously,” Mr Stones said.
Seventeen-year-old Zhuri Burgess joined Mr Paynter a year later.
Mr Stones said: “I’m proud to say that we look throughout the company and seek development opportunities for team members across every department and at every level.
“And let me be clear, while the focus of this speech is to attract and develop more Bermudians into the industry, we are committed to the development of all employees, regardless of their citizenship.”
AirCare plans to strengthen its partnership with the IMPACT Mentoring Academy and to seek out other ways to encourage young Bermudians to consider the industry as a career.