The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Kofi Agyepong, has said the absence of relevant skills will continue to create high rates of unemployment in the country, despite the availability of vacancies for employment.
Mr Agyepong who was speaking at the 2022 Job Fair in Sunyani, therefore, called for the need to change the patterns of “our investments into well enhanced skills that will stay with our youth forever.”
He said: “I have been asking myself since I took over the agency, if Tullow Ghana Limited asks me to supply them with 200 trained and certified electricians today, will I be able to provide them? If AngloGold Ashanti requests YEA to provide them with 500 trained and certified industrial machine engineers, will I be able to provide them?
“If the Ghana Water Company requests 100 trained and certified plumbers for employment today, can I provide them? I met an investor friend a few days ago, his major problem has been finding certified mechanics who can repair his company’s excavators, bull loaders, crushing machines at his quarry site at Shai Hills. Whenever any of these machines are faulty, it becomes a severe headache to him. He hardly can put together a team of hardworking young people to service the machines. These are the real skills needs on the grounds.”
Another looming national crisis, Mr Agyepong identified was how the country is gradually losing her informal sector to artisans from neighboring countries, especially Togo. “ You want the best of masons to put up a building for you, you want the best of P.O.P done for you in your house, you want the best of plumbers to fix your pipes, and even painting, and you are directed to artisans from Togo because they deliver the best of these services. Have we as a country considered the quantum of resources we are losing as a result of this? Are we saying that we cannot train our young men and women to provide these services? Will that not empower them with a lifetime skill that they can at all times provide for themselves, their families and ease the pressure on the government to provide jobs?” he asked.
He used the event to also commend the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (GCC) together with the GIZ, who through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development have been unrelented in their support for the fair. He also commend the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for their continuous support.
“To my young people who participated in the fair, Mr Agyepong told them that the fair was the best opportunity “you can find today to make that dream you long aspire to come through. Take every advantage of the fair and reach out to as many employers as you can. I entreat you to treat this event as just what it is: a job fair, not some sort of funfair.”