The maiden National Skills Competition, an initiative that seeks to harness the skills, technology and innovations of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions and other informal sector players for national development, has opened in Accra.
About 78 TVET institutions are participating in the four-day competition, which falls in line with the Ghana Skills Development Initiative (GSDI).
The competitors are showcasing innovations in building and construction technology, creative arts and fashion, information and communications technology (ICT), manufacturing and engineering technology, social and personal services and transport and logistics.
Six of the most outstanding competitors will be selected to represent Ghana for the first time at the World Skills Competition, Africa, to be held in Uganda from November 20 to 24, this year.
Present at the opening session of the event in Accra yesterday were the ministers of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh; Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul; the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, and the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of TVET, Ms Barbara Ayisi Asher.
The Executive Director of COTVET, Dr Fred Kyei Asamoah, and the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, were also in attendance.
The Ambassador of Germany, Mr Christoph Retslaff, and the Ambassador of the European Union, Ms Diana Acconcia, were also present at the opening session of the competition.
In his address to open the competition, Dr Prempeh said the government was focused on placing priority on technical and vocational education and training to build the technical capacity that would drive its industrialisation agenda.
In that regard, he said, emerging skills and technologies would be introduced into the curriculum of TVET institutions to provide patrons with the skills required for national development.
He described the National Skills Competition as a game changer in the delivery of TVET, since it would help participants imbibe international standards and best practices to boost critical sectors of the economy.
Dr Prempeh called on stakeholders in the TVET sector to do their bit to promote the sector.
For his part, Dr Kyei Asamoah described the theme for the four-day competition: "Skills for jobs and national development", as apt because the country required human resource with the right skills to sustain its development.
He said COTVET had concluded a skills gap analysis into key sectors of the economy, including agriculture, construction, ICT and energy, and was now taking steps to address those shortfalls.
He added that COTVET was also carrying out a needs assessment of TVET institutions as part of steps to address the challenges in that sector.
"I wish to add that we have concluded feasibility studies for the establishment of 20 TVET centres to help build the capacity of students and players in that area,” he said.
He noted that TVET was particularly important, given the fact that the government's agenda to move the country beyond aid required people with the right technical know how.
The German Ambassador, Mr Christoph Retslaff, stressed that a strong TVET sector was key to the sustainable development of any country and ought to be prioritised if Ghana wanted to make progress in building an economy beyond aid.
"You cannot build a country with the expertise of doctors, lawyers and educationists only. You need technical people to make things work," he said.
President Akufo-Addo interacting with Lady Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at the dinner.
Prince Charles interacting with Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo at the dinner. With them is Mrs Samira Bawumia, the wife of the Vice-President.
Some invited guests at the dinner. Pictures: SAMUEL TEI ADANO