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07.10.2004 General News

Demands of trainees thwarting programme

By GNA

Accra, Oct. 7, GNA - Persistent demand for pocket money by trainees under the Government Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) programme was inhibiting the enthusiasm of some of the institutions involved in giving skills to street children.

Mr Ben Boafo, Secretary of the Dzorwulu Technical Resource Foundation, a nongovernmental organisation, said this was regrettable since the institutions were unable to provide the daily demands of the trainees under their care.

Speaking at the second graduation ceremony of 50 graduates trained in textile production and metal welding, Mr Boafo noted that most of the people enrolled for this year's programme went back to the street because the money they demanded everyday could not be given to them.

"It is pathetic to note that some trainees had persistently asked for pocket money before and after training with claims that they had no source of income since they were no more on the street."

The STEP programme, which is the brainchild of the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment, was designed to equip the less privileged with employable skills to enable them to live meaningful life.

This year's training programme, which was initially scheduled to last for three months, was extended to six months to enable the students to acquire the necessary skills needed in their fields of endeavour. Out of the 25 were trained in textile manufacturing, with twenty-four being females while the remaining 25 underwent training in metal welding.

Mr Ben Boafo, said the programme was initiated by a group of 24 traders, who identified "streetism" as a major problem and tried to pool resources to train street children to get them off the street.

He said since the inception of the programme, two years ago, they had depended on the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment for support in the form of funds and the provision of logistics.

Mr Boafo called on the Ministry for support in its plan to group the graduates into cooperative unions so that their activities could be supervised by the Foundation.

He noted that attempts by the Foundation to source funds from the district assembly levy and the Member of Parliament's Share of the district Assemblies' Common Fund to bolster the training programme proved futile.

Mr Boafo congratulated the few trainees, who completed the program with determination despite challenges and urged them to put the skills they had acquired to good use.

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