Skill acquisition, creativity key solution to unemployment  –Kofi Buah


Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle in the Western Region, has noted that the solution to the youth unemployed situation in the country is skill acquisition and creativity.

“In the 21st century of technology advances, the solution for non-existing job is to be innovative – think outside the box for you to be employed and for economic development,” he reiterated.

Mr. Buah said this at the launch of ‘Skill Up Ellembelle’, an initiative for the youth in the Nzema area by the MP at Ampain in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region.

The ‘Skill Up’ is the transfer of technical and vocational skills from one person to another and serves as a means of employment and wealth creation.

Mr. Buah explained that the ‘Skill Up’ is also to empower the youth in the district and equip them with the requisite skills to shape their future.

Over the years, he said his office has organised various programmes to ensure that the youths are properly trained and equipped with the skills needed to shoulder the responsibilities of the future.

These programmes, according to him, have had a remarkable impact in empowering the youth. “Our Skill Up is tailored to offer comprehensive skills training in a wide range of hands-on trades – including mechanics, carpentry, electronics/electrical, welding, masonry (building and construction), hairdressing and fashion design within a period of a year or two years.

“These trades, he explained, have been carefully selected based on their demand on the local market and their potential for job creation. “We have 400 youths here today who are already committed to the various trades; our ultimate goal is to benefit about 1,000 aspiring youths in the Ellembelle Constituency before the end of this year through this life-changing initiative to help them become job creators, rather than job-seekers.”

“We envision fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and driving economic growth, enabling our youth to seize opportunities and contribute meaningfully to our society. Our mechanism will ensure collaboration among participants, leading them to establish enterprises or companies capable of drawing in funds and support,” Mr. Buah, who is also the Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament, said.

He announced that this initiative has been endorsed by the Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA) and the Rural Enterprise Programme. “I have partnered with vocational institutions – such as Kikam Technical (Kimtech), St. Theresa’s NVTI Dolphin, private enterprises and craft persons – every year to train our young people. What is different is that we have learnt lessons from our past experiences that will guide this new programmme.”

“We are prioritising those who voluntarily took the first step to start a craft. Secondly, we are also going to put them in groups to register and establish their own businesses, have their Tax Identification Number (TIN), give them additional training in Enterprise Management, and support them in collaboration with other stakeholders to provide funding support to expand their businesses. After the skill training, we are going to create a hub and empower them with their own enterprises for others to also benefit from their training,” he added.

Edward Arthur, Ellembelle Business Advisor of the Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), advised the youths to come together to form partnerships which are well-structured with good leaders and marketing skills when the programme ends.

“GEA is ever ready to support the MP’s initiative; we will follow up and check up on the youths during the training. GEA is there to support the youths who have acquired skills with start-up capital and tools for their businesses”, he said

The Chief of Ampain was grateful to the MP for the support he continues to give the people of Ellembelle, especially the youth.

“Do not attach politics to this initiative, this is for your own development. Do not relent on your effort in learning this trade, strive very hard to complete it,” he advised.

Why the ‘Skill UP’?

Recent reports have highlighted alarming statistics revealing a rising number of unemployed individuals, especially young people.

The youth unemployment has become a national security issue as recently announced by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana). This point was further amplified in the Ghana 2022 Annual Household Income and Expenditure Survey (AHIES)

Also, the third Quarter Labour Statistics by the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS), released on May 3, 2023 indicate that about 1.76 million persons were unemployed in the third quarter of 2022 alone.

“In our own district, unofficial figures for youth unemployment is estimated at about 50 percent. These alarming figures of unemployment pose a security risk to all stakeholders. It is in this vein that we have launched the ‘Skill Up’ to empower the youth with valuable skills to become self-reliance and open job opportunities for them,” Mr. Buah said.

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