The first batch of 100,000 tertiary graduates, recruited under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), have officially been deployed to seven critical areas of the economy as government seeks to reduce the country’s unemployment rate and encourage entrepreneurship among the youth.
The NABCO programme was necessitated by the high graduate unemployment rate in the country. A recent research conducted by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) revealed that between 250,000 and 300,000 graduates are produced annually by more than 48 universities for non-existent jobs.
The country’s on-going International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme has also limited the number of graduates employed by the public sector to only the critical areas of health and education.
The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government is expected to invest GH¢3billion over a three-year period under the NABCO programme – a fact the president said should motivate beneficiaries to give of their best.
“NABCO trainees must bear in mind that government is investing some GH¢3billion of taxpayers’ money into this programme. Your monthly stipend of GH¢700 is not free money and you must earn every pesewa of it through hard work and dedication, which I am confident you will do,” he said at an official ceremony held at the Black Star Square to signify the deployment of trainees
The trainees are expected to work in one of the following modules: Educate Ghana, Heal Ghana, Feed Ghana, Civic Ghana, Revenue Ghana, Digitise Ghana, and Enterprise Ghana
“They are going in to assist in the realisation of government vision of an educated population, an industrialised, robust and well-managed economy, the delivery of good governance, and for the sustenance of these a reliable, skilled and efficient workforce.”
Acquisition of skills
As part of the programme, trainees are expected to receive additional training every week at their various assigned institutions to enhance their future employment prospects.
“Additionally, the NABCO trainees will be engaged in a structured work and learning programme environment. For every four weeks of work, one week will be dedicated to acquiring soft, future employability and work-readiness skills.
“Within the three years, NABCO trainees would have obtained 36 weeks of solid training and value addition to enable them transition smoothly into the world of permanent work,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He added that this will “help address the very issue that keeps out our graduates out of the labour market in spite of their educational qualifications”.
Partnership with Universities, COTVET
The NABCO programme has partnered the Council for Technical, Vocational Education and Training and local and foreign universities to validate and certify trainees upon successful completion of their on-job training.
“The managers of the programme have struck up a partnership with the COTVET and some universities, both domestic and foreign, for validating the contact of the learning programmes so that the trainees receive appropriate certification of their skills and training for their deployment to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Information Services Department (ISD), Local Government Service, the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“In NABCO we have planted the seeds for future growth of our country. I am in no doubt whatsoever that NABCO will succeed.”
Trainees are expected to exit the programme after three years. Various exit strategies have been devised by the programme’s architects, headed by Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, to ensure the exit process is successfully implemented.
“The scheme is well-constructed and has clearly-defined exit routes. Our public services institutions, having benefitted from the services of NABCO trainees over the 3-year period, will naturally have opportunities for the large retention of trainees who justify their value.
“Another pathway is building an entrepreneurial base among the NABCO trainees. The Minister for Business Development and the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Plan are involved in this exit pathway. The goal is to have 500 business leaders mentoring 500 NABCO trainees under the Enterprise Ghana Module.”
He added that: “A dedicated fund, amounting to the equivalent of their 3rd year allowances, is to be made available for them to start their corporative ventures. An equivalent matching fund will be sourced from a private investor to complement the GH¢4.5million fund.
“Again, we have employed creativity in the design of an exit pathway focused on education. For example, the University College of Education Winneba and University of Cape Coast are to provide academic support in training the many NABCO personnel with Diplomas in Basic Education. This will provide them with certificates and guaranteed careers in the early childhood care and development sector.”
President Akufo-Addo admonished NABCO trainees to be dutiful and productive in the areas they have been assigned.
“I urge you to demonstrate, on a daily basis, that you value knowledge as a basis for effective performance and productivity. You must show your professional credentials for timeliness and punctuality; and above all live beyond reproach so that you can discharge your responsibilities with efficiency, so that at the end of the day can vouched for in your integrity,” he said.