The apprenticeship training was a pilot and would be rolled out fully in various districts across the country, targeting 8,000 trainees for the first component who would master their skills and craftsmanship with the focus on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The initiative, which was designed by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and Mastercard Foundation two years ago, is to create opportunities for women, girls and the youth by helping create dignifying jobs.
Learning under the Ghana Enterprises Agency’s Skills Craft Persons (SCPs) for six months, the trainees mastered skills in cosmetology, fashion design, dressmaking, welding, metal fabrication, leather works and barbering amongst others.
They had also passed the National Vocational Technical Institute (NVTI) examination and had been taken through lessons in financial literacy, bookkeeping, social media marketing and banking and how to start a business.
The Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is supporting the initiative with kits and other resources.
Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Enterprises Agency, Madam Kosi Yankey-Ayerh, at the graduation ceremony, said the Young Africa Works was to create 39,000 jobs nationwide and the Agency was gradually working to achieve the goal.
She urged the beneficiaries to “go out into the world and transform people around you. Do not sleep on your start-ups kits and tools that you have been given but go and create jobs for yourselves and people around.”
“Once we see that you are doing well, we will come back and assist you to grow your business bigger,” Madam Yankey-Ayerh said.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, she said GEA and Mastercard Foundation would register businesses of 1000 trainees in Greater Accra and other regions as well.
Mr Alan Kojo Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, lauded the initiative and added that the need to create jobs for skilled and unskilled unemployed persons was a responsibility of not only government but private sector and development partners.
He said, “if you create jobs for people, then you allow them to earn income and also contribute to tax revenue. And if people earn more, they increase the level of consumption, meaning investments go up.”
He admonished the beneficiaries to protect their kits, use the opportunity to create jobs for others and expand their businesses through the use of GEA’s business advisory and resources centres.
Miss Mary Fosu, a beneficiary of the dressmaking apprenticeship, in an interview with GNA, said, it took discipline and commitment to go through the duration as she had no personal equipment.
“I would say fear is one thing that the youth should not pay attention to. People doubt themselves because of their poor condition but with discipline and commitment we can achieved everything,” she said.
Miss Fosu said she intended employing three people to have a strong workforce few months after starting her business.