The West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) has presented start-up tools to 55 youth in the Shama district at a total cost of GH¢200,000.
The beneficiaries are from Aboadze, Shama, Abuesi, Inchaban and Dwomoh – all in the Shama district of the Western Region. They were trained for between two and three years in vocations such as welding, fabrication, fashion and design, hairdressing, and building and construction technology.
The rest are auto mechanic engineering, catering and hotel management, and woodwork as well as joinery and carpentry.
They were trained under WAPCo’s Community Youth Enterprise Scheme, which provides young persons within the company’s host communities who have completed basic education – but cannot pursue further studies due to financial constraints, the opportunity to learn a trade of their choice in recognised Vocational and Technical institutions in Ghana.
Two hundred and twenty-six students have so far been supported under WAPCo’s livelihood programme; 108 of these are beneficiaries of the scheme.
Mrs. Harriet Wereko-Brobbey, General Manager-Corporate Affairs of WAPCo said: “73 of them have successfully graduated from the various training institutions.
“A significant number, that is 55 of them, are from the Aboadze area while the rest are from Tema, Mahean and Kpone; the start-up tools are to enable them set up their own businesses from the skills they have acquired,” she said.
She explained that WAPCo in 2012 introduced its Livelihood programme for host communities, which was based on the outcome of a study to assess needs of the communities. The programme has two components: a scholarship scheme and a Community Youth Enterprise Scheme.
Mrs. Wereko Brobbey congratulated the beneficiaries for having gone through the skills training successfully. “As standard-bearers, WAPCo, is counting on you to be the light of your communities and support others, who have not been fortunate as you, to benefit from the scheme.
“We expect you to take good care of them as you set up your business within the communities. We are counting on you to train others and become agent of change, and we will visit you from time to time to see how you are progressing with your business,” she said.
Madam Francisca Kain, Girl Child Coordinator in the Shama district added: “You have acquired these skills to equip you for a lifetime, and we encourage you to do your best.
“This is an initiative that deserves commendation; this is economic empowerment, and I would advise you to take this opportunity to grow your businesses and affect your community,” she said.
She said: “You have a role to play in the sustainability of this programme, and you must encourage them to maintain the start-up kits as well as ensure proper storage”.
Mrs. Gift Eugenia Kusi, Deputy-Western Regional Minister, pointed out that skills training should be taken seriously by all, since it creates a lot of employment avenues.
She commended WAPCo for such an initiative, and urged the beneficiaries to maintain the start-up tools.
Nana Kobina Atom, Chief of Aboadze, urged parents to ensure proper use of the start-up kits, saying there will be monitoring of these items from time to time.