Ghana Youth Employment Forum | Business News 2012-07-06
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Business News of Friday, 6 July 2012

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Ghana Youth Employment Forum

held at the World bank Ghana Office

The Ghana Center for Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation's Youth Employment Forum was held yesterday the 4th of July 2012 at the World Bank Ghana Office,North Ridge to assess the impact of the Modules of some four Institutions with a primary aim to create jobs in Ghana.

The Forum which was facilitated by the Center's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. John Armah was attended by Mr. Gariba Adem, National Coordinator of the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme, Mr. Emmanuel Arthur, Corporate Affairs Manager Rlg, Mr. Kofi Boakye, Zonal Coordinator, Graduate Business Support Scheme, Mr. Yaw Adu Mensah, Chairman of the Technical Board of the Graduate Business Support Scheme, who also doubles as a Consultant to the Youth Enterprises and Skills Development Centers Programme ,some 20 Entrepreneurs, and was to create a synergy, harmonize the efforts of these job creating institutions, assess the impact made by these organizations on the youth so far, to understand their mandate with regards to their focus groups, differentiating the concentration of their modules as well as focusing on assessing the sustainability of the employment modules of these institutions who were present.

The Institutions took turn to explain their mandate, modules, their focus groups, funding sources, work chain and a general roadmap towards reducing unemployment in Ghana. Whereas there was a general consensus on the inability of the statistical service to provide accurate data on Unemployment and to collate information from these institutions for policy formulation and monitoring, these institutions expressed willingness to collaborate with the Statistical Service to collate such important demographic information needed for proper planning in Ghana.

The Coordinator for LESDEP, Mr. Gariba, explained that LESDEP was established generally to equip the masses or people generally in the unskilled labour force category of Ghana, and generally gave preference to people who had some prior skills training. According to Him, 20,000 people registered with LESDEP last year, but LESDEP only trained and provided support for 10,000 people. This year, LESDEP has registered 65,000 people for training with 25,000 to be supported with materials for business start-up. LESDEP aside its training for it's beneficiaries also provides material support to beneficiaries of schemes such as the Social Investment Fund geared towards building capacity of Youth for Job Creation. LESDEP, also supports Persons with Disabilities and has through the Center for Employment of Persons with Disabilities registered 5000 persons with disabilities for skills training and support for start-up after the training, LESDEP has modules in Fashion and Dress Making, Embroidery, Assembling of Mini Trucks including Cold Vans, Sales Vans, Waste collection Vans, amongst others. In Agri-Business, they focus on Grasscutter rearing. Other start-up modules of LESDEP include Block making, Beads Making, Food processing and others. When asked about recovering investments into start-up of beneficiaries, Mr. Gariba stated that through their two credit schemes, participants are readily paying and saving for themselves, He said in some regions the re-payment on items given out is almost 80% ensuring the continuity of their program. He also stated that soon, LESDEP will introduce a new form of passenger tri-cycle(Rick-wash) in some regions to ensure better safety for passengers who otherwise use the Okada in areas which are not easily accessible. According to Mr. Yaw Adu Mensah, Consultant to the Youth Enterprises and Skills Development Center programme, contrary to the views that the National Youth Employment Programme did not have an exit strategy, the Youth Enterprises and Skills Development Center was set-up to absorb those who exit the NYEP modules, the Youth Enterprises and Skills Development Programme, similar in operations to that of LESDEP setup persons who exit of the NYEP programs in agro-business, beads making, Dress Making amongst others, asked whether these may not necessarily be a passion of the beneficiaries who may opt out later upon completion, Mr. Yaw Adu Mensah reiterated that the Scheme and Modules of YESDEC encouraged more to stay on the scheme as incentives on benefitting from other packages of credit facility, material support even after, the beneficiaries exit the scheme are bent on encouraging beneficiaries to be supportive of the scheme and contribute to its growing success.

Mr. Kofi Boayke of the Graduate Business Support Scheme, who explained their mandate, stated that the Graduate Business Support Scheme was to train Unemployed Graduates who after their National Service, required some form of training, exposure, mentoring and support to acquire skills in some specialized areas for Business Start-up. These programs he said, are offered annually by the Management Development and Productivity Institute in four parts with duration of 12months.So far 2,500 unemployed graduates give been registered on the Scheme, with 500 trained so far on how to generate business ideas, test & structure ideas in a marketable, business plan preparation & logical frame work approach. So far according to GEBSS 200 Business plans of beneficiaries of the training are being evaluated for access to start-up funds. Mr. Kofi Boakye highlighted GEBSS innovation of working on an innovative Graduate Business Insurance Scheme with private insurance companies to address the challenges of access to credits by beneficiaries after their business plans are evaluated. The Doors of GEBSS are open to all graduates from the Universities and Polytechnics, with primary focus on Unemployed Graduates who have finished their National Service. GEBSS has zonal offices across the country and as was established during the Forum will enhance its reach to persons who exit the National Service Scheme by interacting with them during their service week as well as work on a proposition to set up an office of theirs at the National Service Secretariat to be in constant touch with their focus group, which is students who have completed their National Service. The cost of training is covered by Government and they encourage more people to register with them for training.

Mr, Emmanuel Arthur,the Corporate Affairs manager of Rlg, who addressed the gathering, explained the programs of Rlg and it's continuous interest in improving the IT infrastructure, the access to IT products in Ghana,as well as the basic training in repair works and assembling of such IT products, according to Him, they have so far trained 80,000 people out of their stated goal of training 1million people with an agreed goal to expand access to their training modules this year. Rlg so far has three branches in Osu, Dansoman and just recently Madina. Rlg He said, is currently also training persons with disabilities excluding the blind,who in their second phase after securing the machines and equipments to train such special class will benefit from the mobile phone repairs module, laptop assembling amongst others. He also stated that this year, Rlg will embark on an economic tree planting exercise, according to Him, Rlg intends to plant 8 million seedlings particularly in Coconut across the coastal belt. These economic trees he believes will act as a sustenance for some families whose services will be engaged under this exercise. He also stated that soon, Rlg will launch the National Young Achievers Award and has contracted Charter House an events organizing company to expedite work on the Award Scheme and ceremony. In his concluding remarks, He stated Rlg's commitment to supporting the Youth and will continue to do so in its capacity to contribute its quota to national development. Unlike others, He said Rlg does not advertise for people to register with them for training, but believes; to tap into the full potential of the applicants, they must willingly and by their own initiative take steps to visit their branches to register for their various modules.

Generally, participants reiterated on the point of creating more synergies amongst such institutions with a mandate for job creation to harmonize all efforts to yield a greater impact in reducing Unemployment. By the assessment of participants, whereas modules of LESDEP, Rlg and others were strategically planned and structured, others needed to do more. Though funds continue to be an inhibiting factor, all participants present attested to the fact that they've been well resourced but also look forward to the support from Corporate Ghana and others in rendering service to Ghana.

The Ghana Center for Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation in its commitment towards promoting Entrepreneurship, Job creation will continue to facilitate such discussions and collaborate with such agencies in the interest of establishing a clear road map in reducing Unemployment and creating synergies for Job Creation. The Center is due to roll out its programs to the General Public in due course.