The British Council and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) has engaged stakeholders to discuss the Vocational Educational Training (VET) Toolbox project for it to be strengthened in European Union (EU) partner countries.
The EU established the VET Toolbox, a facility that makes available the much needed expertise and practical advice to partner countries, on themes such as VET Policy and Reform, Labour Market Intelligence, and Private Sector Engagement and Support to ensure the inclusiveness of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in VET.
It involves well-tailored training programmes for VET and Industry, Private and Public Partnerships, Curriculum Development as well as Career Guidance and Counselling.
Under the project, the British Council and GIZ had partnered with the Fair River International Association for Development (FARIAD), a non-governmental organisation, and the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) to successfully roll out the VET Toolbox Project in Ghana.
The FARIAD and NVTI, through the support, were able to develop stronger VET and industry partnerships, provided skills to develop workplace relevant curriculum and offered training in Career Guidance and Counselling.
A briefing workshop was, therefore, held in Accra to discuss the Toolbox project activities and reflect on findings from the consultations and interventions, currently underway in the country.
The workshop also showcased the work of the Toolbox more broadly and provided advice on how other organisations in Ghana might benefit from the support it offers.
Ms Diana Acconcia, the Head of European Union Delegation in Ghana, said Africa was seen as a partner to offer opportunity and sustainable jobs for its youth, hence the introduction of the Toolbox with 50 million euros made available to fund the project.
The Project is being funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented through a partnership of European agencies namely British Council, GIZ, Enabel and LuxDev.
Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo, the Deputy Minister of Education, said VET was an indispensable form of education that needed to be given the boost to make it more relevant.
She commended the European Union and other partner agencies for engaging the stakeholders to think about the skills for the teeming youth of Africa.
The VET Toolbox was launched in Ghana in September, 2018 as one of the first beneficiary countries to participate in the project.
She said skills development and vocational and technical training was what would transform Ghana's economy and practically reduce unemployment.
Mrs Ampofo said the strategy of the Government was to expand the technical and vocational opportunities to secondary and tertiary levels, thereby, strengthening the linkages between education and industry.
"On our part as government, we are positioning ourselves to mainstream technical and vocational training in various ways to help erase the perception that technical education is for the less endowed students" she noted.
Mr Allan Rutt, the British Council Director, said the project was a good complimentary activity towards Ghana's effort at skills development and training of its youth for the job market.
Mr Andy Hall, Senior Consultant of the VET Project, explained that the Toolbox has three areas of interest - skills development, promoting private and public partnership in vocational training, and the inclusion of the vulnerable groups and women in vocational and technical training.
He said those were being looked at to improve marketability of the youth.
The Toolbox initiative involves short interventions of training young people in vocational and technical training in Ghana, Senegal, Botswana, and Mali, among others, to make students more relevant to the labour market.
To date, the VET Toolbox had received four support requests in Ghana, namely, the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations, the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the National Vocational Training Institute and FARIAD.
The EU works to strengthen VET systems in many partner countries where the system was often insufficiently aligned to the needs of the labour market as people trained do not always acquire the required skills and competences.
This is due to inadequate private sector engagement and missing linkages to the world of work.