The Project Director of the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurship Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE), Mrs Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi, says the YIEDIE project will continue to train youth in the construction sector to reduce the reliance on skilled artisans and tradesmen from neighbouring countries.
She said because of the lack of skilled labour in the construction sector, most companies and individuals had to import skilled labour from countries such as Togo and Cote d’Ivoire.
At the YIEDIE awareness creation and registration fair held in Accra, she said the trend was gradually changing as the YIEDIE project had trained youth who could match the skills of their counterparts in the West African sub-region.
About 200 youth converged on the premises of Sunny FM, an Accra-based radio station, to register for the programme.
As part of the programme, experts in the construction sector were invited to speak to the youth about the opportunities that existed in the sector and also mentor them.
She said the construction sector in the country was booming and there existed numerous job openings in the sector.
YIEDIE, a five-year project being implemented by Global Communities, an international non-governmental organisation, to create economic opportunities in the country’s construction sector for economically disadvantaged youth, is under the auspices of MasterCard Foundation.
Unemployment is threat
Mrs Mills-Odoi, who is also the Youth Ambassador in Construction, explained that the growing unemployment rate among the youth posed a serious threat to the country, stating that was the reason for starting the YIEDIE project to build the technical and entrepreneurial skills of the youth between 17 and 24 years so as to address the skilled manpower shortage in the construction sector.
She said the YIEDIE project offered technical skills and entrepreneurial training for the beneficiaries and also linked them to job opportunities in the construction sector.
So far, Mrs Mills-Odoi said 16,739 people had been trained under the project and about 4,000 beneficiaries were currently under training.
“We are highly optimistic we will exceed our target of training 23,700 youth by March 2020,” she said.
Mrs Mills-Odoi indicated that the project had impacted positively on the youth and one of the female beneficiaries, who was into metal fabrication, had been adjudged by the BBC as one of the Influential Women in the World.
In addition, she said the YIEDIE Project was awarded by the Ghana Real Estate Development Association for its contribution to the development of the construction sector.
The Vice Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries Construction Sector, Mr Eric Defor, described the YIEDIE Project as a good programme to offer employment to the unemployed youth.
He said there was shortage of skilled manpower for the construction industry in Ghana and, thus, the sector players had to rely on labour from neighbouring West African countries.
Mr Defor said the construction sector depended on skilled labour and there was the need for the country to step up efforts to train more youth to fill skilled labour shortages in the construction sector.
He lauded the YIEDIE for introducing the skills training and apprenticeship programme to build the skills of the youth and prepare them for opportunities in the job market.
The President of the YIEDIE Alumni Association, Elikplim Kumedzro, advised beneficiaries of the YIEDIE Project to take the programme seriously so as to build their technical skills and make them marketable.
He said through the training he acquired through the programme, he had been able to establish his own business.