The Country Director of Plan International Ghana, Mr Solomon Tesfamariam, has stressed the need for Ghana to pay more attention to the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a means to prepare the country’s youth for decent employment in the coming years.
According to him, TVET is a powerful vehicle for equipping young people with employment and entrepreneurship skills.
He was of the view that “In fulfilment of the SDG goal 8, which calls for decent and economic growth, there is the need for rapid paradigm shift towards transformative training systems to develop the knowledge, skills and creativity needed to secure the future of our young people to enable them acquire decent jobs to sustain themselves, families and Ghana as a whole."
Mr Tesfamariam made the call during the national launch of the Pathway for Sustainable Employment for Women and youth (PASEWAY) project in Accra on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
The PASEWAY project which seeks to provide opportunity for skills development and decent youth employment is being implemented by Plan International Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.
Some of the dignitaries at the launch
Other partners of the project are Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES) Ghana, Vocation Training for Females (VTF) Foundation, and Regional Advisory Information Network System (RAINS), an NGO based in Tamale.
The PASEWAY project is being implemented in the construction industry in the Greater Accra and Northern regions and in the hospitality sector in the Ashanti Region with various interventions to provide 4,050 young people with skills to find employment or set up their own businesses.
Mr Tesfamariam noted that "Despite the fact that vocational training and skills development are increasingly recognised as drivers for economic and social development particularly among young people, it still faces some challenges,” adding “The main one is the fact that: technical and vocational training suffers from low esteem, low appreciation and low appeal.”
He said the youth needed to be empowered with skills and work ethics that met the market requirements.
That, he said, the PASEWAY project had been introduced to provide properly thought-through sustainable solutions to encourage the youth, particularly young women to participate in all relevant trades.
"The first is that we need a special focus on young women. Women entrepreneurs have a great impact across the globe, contributing towards the growth and well-being of their societies,” Mr Tesfamariam said.
He expressed the concern that “Here in Ghana, there is still a bias towards boys as most of the programmes for a long time have been offered in traditionally male-dominated trades. Therefore, this project will contribute to encouraging young women's participation in all relevant trades."
In an address read on his behalf, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatious Baffour Awuah, expressed the hope that the PASEWAY project would help to reduce the country’s unemployment burden.
He said available data obtained from the Ghana Statistical Service showed that both the public and private sectors would not be able to generate jobs in the required numbers to absorb the country’s growing labour force, hence the need for the youth to venture into skills training that would enable them to become self-employed.
He noted that a report published by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research in March, 2017, revealed that only 10 per cent of graduates found jobs within one year of completing their national service.
Mr Baffour Awuah has, therefore, encouraged the beneficiaries of the project to take their training seriously to enable them start their own businesses.
A representative from YES Ghana, Mr Eric Saforo said to ensure smooth implementation of the project, his outfit has set up a skills hub with all the needed facilities such as a well-stocked library, training space, coaching services office and internet café to provide young people with the room to learn and research for job opportunities.
For his part, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, in charge of Programmes and Operations at the National Youth Authority, Mr Nelson Owusu-Ansah, expressed happiness about the initiative and pledged the support of NYA towards the implementation of the PASEWAY.