The graduate car wash phenomenon

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By Emmanuel E.K AWUMEE

The labelling of the car wash business as though it is a taboo for graduates to work in that industry is highly an unfortunate phenomenon in this part of our world. This came on the back of a publication sited on social media last month seeking to create the impression as though a graduate working in a car washing bay was not a befitting job.

This goes to buttress the point that some businesses within the informal sector have been wrongfully branded and stigmatised in our society and presumed to be a taboo for graduates to work in that space. This is an experience I have personally encountered in my Technical/Vocational Education & Training (TVET) and my working life in the informal sector.

This is highly an unfortunate situation in our society where unemployment is at its peak with graduate unemployment on the ascendancy standing at 4.51% of the total labour force in Ghana, whilst the youth unemployment rate stands at 9.46% of the total labour force.

With such glaring statistics staring at us in our face, how can we solve unemployment among graduates if we continue to stigmatise some potential available businesses that could contribute in resolving this menace in our country?

Questions:

  1. What is wrong with a graduate picking up a job within the informal sector, in this case, a car washing bay?
  2. And who said the Car Washing business is limited to ‘school drop-outs’ or less academically endowed persons and for that matter a strange job for a graduate to pick up?
  3. Have those who carry such a perception taken time to research into the Car Wash industry to find out about its operations, brands and packaging potential in the socio-economic development of nations in the area of employability and socio-economic transformation?

The brand and packaging image of the car wash business in Ghana for that matter some parts of Africa might not be the best, but does not suggest that it cannot be transformed, thereby being an unworthy business for graduates.

What is required is business development orientation programmes for operatives within that sector to scale up standards in packaging, branding, management and customer service. And it is even graduates who can better understand these concepts with their educational background to help transform the sector.

These are programmes needed in similar sectors within the informal sector to help transform their brand image in order to make them an attractive destination for graduate employability. This can go along way in helping to reduce graduate Unemployment if not eliminate it.

We cannot always depend on governments, the public sector and private formal sector for employment opportunities – white colour jobs!

I would have expected the publisher or the publishing organisation to have been guided by the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme by the government which seeks to encourage Technical Vocational education and Entrepreneurship to contribute in de-stimatizing businesses within the Informal sector to become a hub of employment for graduates.

A publication of this sort should be speaking to the potentials of job opportunities within the informal sector for graduates and siting the gentleman as an example for working within the car wash industry and possibly advising how such a sector could be well packaged to create an enabling environment for many more graduates to venture into that space and using their knowledge from school to transform the bad packaging of services in that industry.

A support for the gentleman to establish a well modernised car wash business with well-structured management systems could end up employing more of his kind rather than him becoming an employee.

This would have gone a long way to help in the rebranding effort and destigmatize the societal perception of a stigmatised work environment and by extension creating more job opportunities and contributing to the TVET initiative of promoting Technical/Vocational Education and Training through Entrepreneurship.

>>>The writer is the Lead Facilitator at SESIL Entrepreneurial Coffee Session, an informal, practical entrepreneurial information and idea sharing platform, meant to guide and unlock challenges confronting entrepreneurs for growth and sustainability, through human capital development. He can be reached on 0264-790290 || 0249 666685 or www.sesilcoffeesession.com, www.sesill.com

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