Bermuda’s global industry groups are joining forces with middle-school teachers to help boost awareness about the island’s economy and careers in international business.
Led by the Association of Bermuda International Companies (Abic), the initiative has won support from the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (Abir), the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII), the Bermuda Insurance Management Association (Bima), the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), and the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA).
The organisations have teamed with the Ministry of Education and public-school teachers to help develop the middle-school social studies curriculum to give students aged from eleven to thirteen a better understanding of how Bermuda’s economy works, and the different industry sectors — and job types — within the all-important IB market.
“Abic has been in the business of educating Bermudians for careers in international business for over 40 years,” Patrick Tannock, Abic’s chairman, said.
“Our industry depends on qualified Bermudians, and by developing curriculum for schools, we hope to increase awareness of career opportunities in the island’s international business sector.”
A working group met with Ministry of Education teachers earlier this year to discuss innovative resource material and lesson plans to incorporate it. This included PowerPoint presentations, videos, infographics and animated graphics telling the story of Bermuda’s economic history, how regulation works, and current global business sectors.
Teachers and industry representatives also talked about the Bermuda market’s contribution to economies worldwide, plus practical tips to help middle-school students investigate careers in re/insurance, captive insurance, other financial services, and support industries such as accountancy and compliance, where qualified personnel are in high and growing demand.
The enhanced curriculum has now been successfully delivered at five of the island’s middle schools.
“Our aim was to ensure students were exposed to information about international business in Bermuda that included an historical perspective, as well as the modern-day realities of IB’s importance to Bermuda’s economy,” said Lisa Marshall, education officer for social studies.
“Once the curriculum content was decided, selected teachers were tasked with creating the lesson plans and lesson activities for their colleagues. I am thankful for the phenomenal job done in creating lessons and activities by social studies teacher Nicole Grant and business studies teacher Dean Foggo,” she said. “Their task was to ensure our students’ exposure at the middle-school level included relevant and easy-to-understand information, both in its content delivery and use of resources.
“The curriculum was piloted at the M3 year level from March — May this year, and the feedback from students and teachers has been positive. We’re excited with the support from our IB partners and look forward to our continued collaboration with them.”
New resources supplied by industry partners included:
• An Abir initiative to raise awareness of myriad job types and related skills students can use to access jobs in global businesses. The project comprises hard-copy and digital card sets available for download, connecting subjects with job fields — for example, literacy and arts with communications and marketing, or information technology (IT) with data science and cyber underwriting.
• BMA presentations about the role of the regulator, as well as its currency operations, highlighting how Bermuda money is produced with sophisticated security elements.
• BDA materials detailing the evolution of Bermuda’s economy over the centuries and how global business developed on the island in more recent decades.
Organisers hope the programme can be augmented via future initiatives such as on-site visits by students to international companies’ Bermuda offices and interactive sessions such as roundtables allowing students to chat with Bermudian industry professionals.
The middle-school project is one of numerous Abic-led education initiatives. Through its annual Abic Education Awards programme, Abic has supported more than 600 students in overseas post-secondary education. More than 60 per cent of recipients now work in IB and support services.
“Our thanks go to the Ministry of Education curriculum team and the middle-school teachers for embracing this initiative and developing lesson plans to deliver the curriculum,” Mr Tannock said. “Thanks also to all our industry partners for contributing content and participating.”