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20.11.2004 Regional News

82 Trainees Pass Out Under STEP Programme

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Essipong (W/R), Nov.20, GNA- Eighty-two trainees, twelve of them physically challenged, who have acquired training in various vocations at the Junior Boys' Industrial School and Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled at Essipong on Thursday passed out at a ceremony at Essipong near Sekondi.

The graduates, who were recruited in two batches in 2003 and 2004 were offered skills training in textiles and soap production, carpentry and joinery garment construction and food processing under the Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) programme.

However, the joy and happiness of about 20 of the trainees, who had earlier joined their colleagues to sing and dance amid merry making became disappointed and some openly wept because they were not given certificates when it came to the presentation of certificates to climax the occasion.

Apparently, what the affected trainees who passed their final examinations did not know was that the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment had refused to award them the certificates due to a misunderstanding between the Ministry and the Training Centre at Essipong.

Nana Kofi Abuna V, Chief of Essipong, who presided consoled the affected trainees and assured them that he would contact the Ministry to ensure that they were awarded certificates

He advised them to form cooperatives to qualify them for financial assistance from the Government and financial institutions to enable them to open businesses and self-employed.

Mr. Owusu Barima, Western Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare called for greater collaboration among training institutions, parents of the physically challenged, the Government and other stakeholders to intensify recruitment and training of unemployed youths to acquire vocational skills.

Mr. Isaac Kwofie, Manager of the Essipong Training Centre called for adequate financial support and the provision of facilities to enhance the operations of the centre. Ms Paullina Boah, centre prefect commended the Government for offering the trainees the opportunity to acquire skills that would enable them to earn decent living to enhance their lots.

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