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13 April 2014

Graduate unemployment levels alarming - Trades Union Congress (TUC)

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has described the level of graduate unemployment in the country as alarming, saying “it is a time bomb waiting to explode.”

“The spate of joblessness among the youth is very alarming and we are really sitting on a time bomb which will eventually explode one day if we do not find solutions to it,” it stated.

The Secretary General of the TUC, Mr Kofi Asamoah, gave the warning at the second quadrennial delegates’ conference of the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) division of the Public Workers Services Union.

He said the spectre of young and able-bodied persons roaming the streets of the cities daily in search of jobs was worrying.

Mr Asamoah said research conducted by the congress revealed that between 250,000 and 300,000 graduates were produced every year by the universities for the job market.

According to him, unemployment was the number one challenge facing the government at the moment, noting that the situation was not peculiar to Ghana but most governments in the world, particularly in the developing countries.

Mr Asamoah said there was the need for a collective effort to put in place innovative measures to create jobs to stem the situation.

According to him, the situation had been compounded by the universities, especially the private ones, who were all producing graduates without the necessary skills for the job market, saying, “most institutions are training people whose skills are not much required by employers and enterprises.”

He said the time had, therefore, come to examine the importance of education and skills training in addressing our unemployment challenge.

Mr Asamoah said the economic success of advanced societies such as Germany had been partly attributed to human capital development, including significant investment in vocational training.

He said across the world, the most proven strategy to reduce poverty was harnessing the most abundant resource of the poor which was labour. He, however, noted that “unskilled labour is itself associated with poverty.”

Unfortunately, Mr Asamoah said in Ghana, vocational education appeared to be second-rated, adding that “our governments and educational authorities have not placed the needed premium on vocational education.”

He said for both parents and their children, vocational education was the least desired option.

He, therefore, called for reform of the vocational training system to reflect the current realities of the economy.

“It is important that our vocational training equipped its graduates with the knowledge and skills to produce new products for ourselves and for the world at large. Perpetually training people to repair what others have produced is another way to maintain our status as “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” he stated.



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