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Invest in technical training to fix joblessness – ILO official to government

July 14, 2016, 8:34 a.m.

To address the alarming rate of unemployment, Ghana’s government needs to pay more attention to technical and vocational training, Paul Comyn, a Senior Skills and Employment Specialist at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.

“In this part of the world, technical education and vocational training has been seen as the poor cousin,” he told the B&FT on the sidelines of the national workshop on sectoral approaches and skills development in Accra.

“It doesn’t fetch much money as other education sectors, training facilities have been poor, the trainers do not receive skills development, equipment are out of date, and also the links that the training organizations have with local employers are also weak,” he said.

“But recently more governments have started paying attention to vocational and technical training because youth unemployment continues to be a problem; and at the same time employers complain of not finding the right kind of people for certain technical jobs. But if you want your economy to grow, you need the right skills in your business. And that can only be done by focusing more on technical and vocational training,” Mr. Comyn said.

More funding, he said, should be geared toward vocational training, stressing that, “Employment growth won’t happen without training people and having the right mix of skills. So government needs to put more resources into it.”

Dr. Akua Ofori-Asumadu, Officer in charge of ILO, Ghana, said the national workshop on sectoral approaches and skills development seeks to sensitize the public to demystify the perception that technical and vocational education are reserved for students who perform poorly academically, adding that, government must emulate what other developed countries have done.

“If you go to places like the UK, people would like to pursue a career in plumbing than in Political Science. In Germany for instance, they have two tiers—you either decide to go to the university to do theory or technical— and it is at the same level of importance. And that is what we are trying to bring to Ghana so that equal attention will be given to the technical education in order to help create jobs,” she said.

The CEO of the Ghana Employers’ Association, Alex Frimpong, praised the ILO for organizing the workshop which he said will bring a paradigm shift in the development of human capital in the country.

He reiterated the need for government to redirect its focus in order to prepare the youth for jobs immediately after their training.