Youth unemployment is a serious problem on the African continent, where the share of the population of young people between the ages of 15-24 is rapidly growing, but not in tandem with the job market.
Ghana has one of the youngest and most rapidly growing population in the world and preparing them for productive jobs was a social and political priority for the Mahama administration. To tackle the problem of job creation, the Mahama administration initiated youth entrepreneurship programmes across the country. YES for instance helped young entrepreneurs from various stages of life and business development develop their own ideas into jobs.
In accordance with the national need of vocational training for economic development, and the way it has been by society in the past few years, the aim of the Mahama administration was to inform, educate and train youth Ghana. The administration aimed at facilitating a belief that vocational and technical training will offer the youth the chance to secure jobs faster, to be self reliant, establish their own businesses and in turn, commit to a more systemised change in Ghana, starting from the youth. Because the quality of education is arguably one of the most important determinants of youth’s labor force participation, the Mahama administration also responded by job training and placement services programs.
The difference between Mahama’s policy and the NaBCo introduced by the Akufo-Addo government is- Mahama’s policy covered the youth at all levels, the graduates, non graduates. Beneficiaries under the program were to receive monthly stipends of GHC 300 apart from the skills training. The YES initiative was also introduced to offer entrepreneurial training and also ensure that the trained entrepreneurs pass on their knowledge and gained expertise, contributing toward a multiplier effect, through new set ups and jobs. It was part of the Mahama administration’s goal to invest in the youth by connecting them to mentors, markets, training and access to capital. By doing so, the administration wanted Ghana to do our own part in designing innovative solutions to end youth unemployment, extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
This is different from Akufo-Addo’s pro- graduates intervention. The other difference is the duration of appointment. Under the NaBCo initiative, government will terminate appointment of beneficiaries after three years with no provisions made to absorb them. Government is not going to offer training skills to beneficiaries. Considering the number of universities we have in the country today vis-a-vis the number of graduates they churn out onto the job market annually, the NaBCo isn’t the ideal solution.
The Mahama administration, the Youth Entrepreneurial Agency employed thousands of our young folks under different modules including sanitation, security services module, community teaching assistants, paid internship, health extension workers, youth in agric and agri-business, trades and vocation, vacation job etc. Under all these modules, beneficiaries were provided skills to make them unemployable, self reliant
The Mahama administration also focused on creating an infrastructure of vocational and technical training with the Ghanaian educational system facilitating access to vocational and technical training by providing training to youth outside school..increased international awareness and started collaborating with companies and organisations that wanted to invest in training for youth in Ghana. Mr Mahama cut the sod for the construction of vocational and technical schools in all the ten regions.