**Veronica Owens, Parliamentary Secretary
Ministry of Education**

Officially opening the 2005 Financial Services Industry Careers Fest, Veronica Owens called on students to recognise the professional tools that will equip them to make wise choices. Referencing Prof. Lawrence K. Jones’ “The Career Key”, she pointed to three factors involved in making successful career choices: (1) Knowing yourself; (2) Knowing your Options; and (3) Making a Good Decision. The annual Careers Fest, incorporating a lecture series and exhibits, helps participating students focus on each of these areas, Ms. Owens said.

The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) introduced the Careers Fest in 2001 as a means of promoting to senior level secondary students the wide range of careers available in the #2 industry in The Bahamas. The two-day event draws students from secondary schools throughout the island of New Providence, and is co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of East Nassau, Rotary Sunrise, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Financial Services and Investments.

Complementing the Careers Fest is a Financial Services School Essay Contest which each year focuses on topical issues impacting the industry. For the first time this year, a Speech Competition is being sponsored as well.

BFSB recognises that a key factor affecting the success of The Bahamas as a leading financial services centre is the ready availability of trained staff and the high calibre of the local work force. Its school outreach programme is a key component of the Financial Centre Focus initiative, an ongoing public education and awareness programme which focuses on:

• Developments in the industry – Telling the Story

• The importance of high service standards

• Enhancing relationships between the financial services industry and the community

• Profiling Role Models

Through these initiatives, BFSB – working in close collaboration with Professional Industry Associations – hopes to attract focused and qualified young Bahamians to the sector; promote continued training of industry professionals; and encourage all industry participants to keep abreast of changes in the sector.

BFSB also has produced a Guide to Careers in the Financial Services Industry, and distributed such to secondary schools throughout The Bahamas.