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Dr Emmanuel Newman  — Director of Policy, GTEC
Dr Emmanuel Newman — Director of Policy, GTEC

Addressing graduate unemployment: GTEC develops employability skills framework

The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has developed an employability skills framework to ensure that every graduate is equipped with the basic skills required for work before graduating.

The framework, which will be rolled out next year as mandatory for certifying a student to graduate, encompasses every generic skill that ensures that a graduate has basic knowledge known as the 21st Century skills such as good communications skills, good information technology skills and enterpreneurship.

The Director of Policy of GTEC, Dr Emmanuel Newman, who stated this in a presentation on "Tertiary education and employability of graduates in Ghana," explained that the move was a novelty and that the commission sought to give graduates general knowledge in the world of work.

Speaking on the final day of the National Education Week 2023, he said even though such a framework was applied in universities the world over, that could not be said of Ghana and believed the time had come for such knowledge to brighten the chances of graduates in the country in the a.

This year's National Education Week, which opened at the Labadi Beach Hotel on Monday, November 20 and ended on November 23, was on the theme, "Education delivery for national transformation: The case for STEM and TVET."

Employable graduates

Dr Newman stated that currently a total of over 120,000 students graduated annually from tertiary institutions in the country, and that the projection was that by 2030, 330,000 would graduate based on the current student population growth projection.

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He observed that employable graduates were critical for governments to drive economic growth through the production of improved products and services.

Basing his presentation on "Graduate employability study 2022," conducted by the Commission, Dr Newman said a total sample of 5,000 enterprises and 39 accredited tertiary educational institutions were used.

Areas covered

“The questionnaires covered skills gaps, skills shortages, graduate skills and competencies of recently employed graduates and future skills, among others,” he said.

On skills shortage, he explained that during the study of 2,000 vacancies analysed, six per cent were hard-to-field according to employers, “most were at the professional level and in the service industry.

“Skills shortage vacancies refer to a vacancy which attracts applicants but none with the right skills,” Dr Newman said.

He added that the main causes of skill shortage vacancies in the opinion of the employers related to shortage in supply of expertise, lack of applications for the role and salary issues.

“The commonest step taken to address graduate skill shortage is increasing advertising or recruitment spending,” Dr Newman added.

Touching on skills gap, he said 3,993 of the establishment’s surveyed had employees with skills gaps, which were most prevalent in the service sector.

He explained that skills gap referred to the lack of skills in graduate employees that made them unable to perform their jobs proficiently.

Recommendations

Dr Newman said the survey recommended that tertiary education institutions had to proritise and improve awareness and communication regarding graduate employment outcomes and potential career destinations.

Other recommendations, he said, called on institutions to establish formalised processes such as tracer studies to effectively track and share employment data, saying that would help students to make informed decisions about educational choices and career paths.

The study, Dr Newman added, further recommended that education institutions foster stronger partnerships and engagement with industry stakeholders.

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