THE government is to re-equip and expand training facilities in all the 168 community training centres under the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to provide the unemployed youth with employable skills.
Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, the sector minister who said this, therefore called on corporate bodies operating in the catchment areas of these centres to help provide skills training for the youth, as part of their social responsibility to the communities.
Speaking at the first graduation ceremony of the Gyedu Vocational/Technical Training Centre in the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Mensah stated that investing in the youth was one of the thematic areas of the government which it would not renege on.
The sector minister also called on traditional authorities to release more lands for the expansion of the centres, as their contribution towards human resource development in their traditional areas.
The training centre at Asutifi is run by Opportunities Industrialisation Centre International (OICI) and the Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills (ICCES), which is funded by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), operators of the Ahafo Mine, as one of its initiatives under its Skill Development and Income Improvement Programme (SDIIP).
In all, 347 students who underwent a four-year training in catering, dressmaking, carpentry, masonry, welding, fabrication, electrical installation and Agriculture Vocational Training were presented with the National Vocational Technical Institute (NVTI) certificates.
The ceremony coincided with the sod-cutting for expansion work at the centre which is being financed by Newmont at an estimated cost of $195,000.
Mr Mensah stated that skills training was important since the advanced countries used that as a tool for their socio-economic development.
Mr Dan V. Michaelson, General Manager, Environment and Social Responsibility, Newmont Ahafo Mine, said the company was involved in the running of the centre because of the impact its operations had on the lives of the people in the affected communities.
He disclosed that Newmont had spent $150,000 annually to support the running of the centre over the past three years.
Mr Henry Nii Charway Hammond, the Programme Manager of the centre, in his annual report said the centre introduced Agriculture Vocational Training to enhance the knowledge and skills of trainees in improved farming practices and also encourage the youth to take agriculture as their source of livelihood.
He stated that to enable graduates to go into self-employment after completing their training and enhance their managerial capabilities, the centre offered entrepreneurship and business skill training as part of its curriculum.
Messrs Pamford William Bray and Seth Victor Appraku-Mensah, OICI Board Chairman and ICCES Director respectively, in their addresses, lauded the partnership between their respective organisations and Newmont in running the centre.
They, however, appealed for government support to enable the centre to expand and increase the intake of trainees. An exhibition was mounted by the graduating students of the centre to showcase their handiwork and creativity.