The issue of unemployment in Ghana, especially among the youth is of major concern to government and stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
According to the 2015 Ghana Labour Survey Report by the Ghana Statistical Service, Ghana’s unemployment rate as of 2015 stood at 11.9 percent. The unemployment rate is highest among the 15-24 year age group (25.9%).
The government and the private sector have rolled out a number of interventions geared towards solving the unemployment challenge confronting the country.
One of the key private sector players which is making great strides at solving the unemployment problem is Global Communities, Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE).
YIEDIE is a five-year project to create economic opportunities in Ghana’s construction sector for economically disadvantaged youth, implemented by Global Communities (formerly CHF International) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.
The project works in five of Ghana’s largest cities, Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ashaiman, and Tema and will directly reach at least 23,700 youth, between ages 17-24, earning less than $2 per day.
The project provides youth with training in technical, life and entrepreneurship skills leading to employment through its five core objectives:
1. Youth Readiness for Employment and Entrepreneurship;
2. Access to Financial Service Providers;
3. Access to demand-Driven Training and Service Providers;
4. Youth Enterprise Start-Up and Recruitment by Employers;
5. and, Collaboration for Positive Government Policies.
To make sure that the project achieves its intended goals and objectives it took its Job Readiness and Mentoring Fair to Kumasi last week Thursday.
The fair is an annual tradition held by the YIEDIE project, aiming to ensure graduates of the YIEDIE project have an understanding of the dynamics and inner-workings of the labor market.
The event held at the Calvary Charismatic Center was attended by a large number of youths in Kumasi was organised in collaboration with the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation.
A host of key stakeholders made up of Speakers including YIEDIE Project Director Mrs Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi Mr Samuel David Kofi Amegayibor, Secretary to the Executive Council of GREDA Albert Ocran, Mrs Comfort Ocran,AlhajiAlidu Seidu, MCE for Asante Mampong who delivered a policy-focused speech highlighting key issues faced on the national scale in unemployment.
About500 passionate youth listened attentively, sharing their thoughts through interactive question-and-answer segments. The second half of the job fair would include breakout sessions, guided by mentors, aiming to provide youth with insider knowledge from experts in various trades including electrical work, metal fabrication, and interior décor.
The speeches were aimed at stimulating discussions around the need for comprehensive support systems to complement investments in skills development. The push to invest further in skills development is part of the efforts to prepare Ghana’s growing youth population for Ghana’s ever-expanding construction job market.
Why it is Important
Mrs Mills-Odoi explained why the event was very important if Ghana’s quest of tackling the problem of unemployment was to be achieved.
Young men and women in Ghana, between the ages 17-24 face critical challenges in gaining employment. Youth between the ages 15-24 account for 19.4 % of the population of Ghana, and 29.2% of the working age group (Ghana Labour Force Report, 2015). Meanwhile, a significant number of these youth remain unemployed and economically inactive.
She said the YIEDIE project will reach at least 23,700 youth with training in technical, life, and entrepreneurship skills leading to employment.
A total of 16 trade areas are available for youth, including Masonry, Plaster of Paris (POP) design, Tiling, Plumbing, Metal Fabrication, Carpentry, Filling Station Canopy Fabrication, Steel Bending, and many more.
“Despite the large number of men entering the construction sector, women are also fully capable of undertaking that type of work.” She went on to shed light on another pressing issue faced by women. “Sexual harassment is a major issue in the nation’s work force, “she noted.
Alhaji Siedu said “Our citizens are frustrated by high levels of unemployment. 80 % of the workforce are engaged in the informal sector and needs support such as this to be successful.”
Hon. Seidu lauded the YIEDIE project for its effective interventions ushering in a generation of skilled youth and contributing towards reducing national unemployment rates
He urged Global communities, alongside consortium partners, continue to deliver the YIEDIE services package to youth across Kumasi, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to enter the nation’s labor market.
The event helped build partnerships between the public and private sector for youth skills development and mentoring. Specifically, the fair is expected to achieve the following objectives:
.Expose YIEDIE youth to the various functions within the highly competitive construction sector.
.Partner with established construction firms and create opportunities for exposure, placements and internships for YIEDIE youth.
The participants were taken through topics such as Personal Life Planning, opportunities in construction for the youth, preparing for the construction sector job market, women in construction, work ethics in the construction sector and building resilience.
Global Communities is an international non-profit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. The organization has worked in Ghana since 2007, supporting a variety of projects including youth engagement, environmental improvements local governance, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and agricultural projects in both rural and urban centers.YIEDIE is part of the multi-country Youth Forward Initiative in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation. The Youth Forward Initiative is focused on transitioning economically disadvantaged young people to find quality employment or start their own businesses in the growing agriculture and construction sectors in Ghana and Uganda.
The YIEDIE consortium is comprised of four key implementing partners: Opportunities Industrialization Centre Ghana (OICG), African Aurora Business Network LLC (AABN), HFC-Boafo Microfinance Services Ltd. (HFC-Boafo), and Artisans Association of Ghana (AAG). Each partner plays a unique role contributing to the training and empowerment of youth in each of the operating cities. Consortium partners provide critical support to young participants of the YIEDIE project, ranging from financial literacy training, business development services, linking youth to employers, and mobilizing youth for training. YIEDIE – Kumasi operates in collaboration with the OtumfuoOsei Tutu II Charity Foundation – an initiative of the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool of the Ashanti Kingdom, OtumfuoOsei Tutu- Asantehene.
By: Bileh Dougsiyeh, Communications and Learning Officer, Global Communities, YIEDIE