Tue, Sep

Participants in a mentoring session

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Written By Bileh Dougsiyeh - 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 per cent.

The unemployment rate is highest among the 15-24 year age group (25.9 per cent).

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 in solving the unemployment problem is the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE) of Global Communities.

The project

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 of ages 17-24, earning less than $2 per day.

The project provides the 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 labour market.

The event, held at the Calvary Charismatic Centre was attended by a large number of young people  in Kumasi and 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, Mr Albert Ocran, Mrs Comfort Ocran, Alhaji Alidu Seidu, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Asante Mampong who delivered a policy-focused speech highlighting key issues faced on the national scale in unemployment.

About 500 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, of ages 17-24 face critical challenges in gaining employment. Youth between the ages 15-24 account for 19.4 per cent of the population of Ghana, and 29.2 per cent 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 would 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 the 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 workforce, “she noted.

Alhaji Seidu said “Our citizens are frustrated by high levels of unemployment. Eighty per cent of the workforce are engaged in the informal sector and need support such as this to be successful.”

Mr 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, to continue to deliver the YIEDIE services package to youth across Kumasi, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to enter the nation’s labour market.

The event helped build partnerships between the public and private sectors 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

Global Communities is an international non-profit organisation that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.

The organisation 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 centre.

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.

Implementing Partners

The YIEDIE consortium comprises four key implementing partners: Opportunities Industrialisation 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 by contributing to the training and empowerment of the youth in each of the operating cities. Consortium partners provide critical support to young participants the YIEDIE project, ranging from financial literacy training, business development services, linking youth to employers, and mobilising youth for training.

YIEDIE – Kumasi operates in collaboration with the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation – an initiative of the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool of the Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Asantehene.

The writer is Communications and Learning Officer, Global Communities, YIEDIE .

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