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22.11.2004 General News

STEP programme trains 14,611 in various vocational skills

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Wenchi (B/A), Nov. 22, GNA - Mrs (Dr) Fourteen thousand six hundred and eleven (14,611) unemployed youth have so far acquired skills in various trade areas since the institution of the Skills Training and Employment Placement Programme (STEP), Mrs. Dr. Angela Ofori-Atta, Deputy Minister for Manpower Development and Employment has announced. She said 6,000 of them have had training in vocational agriculture. This was contained in a speech read for her at the passing out of eighty-eight trainees of the Wenchi Farm Institute at the weekend after a six-month training course.

Unemployment, she said had been a major concern to the nation and it was against this back-ground that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government took a bold step to provide a nation-wide skills training programme for the youth under the Skills Training and Employment Placement Programme (STEP).

She said the Government has set aside five billion cedis loan facility through a Micro-Finance Institution to support graduates from the Institute.

Dr. Frederick Gyebi Twum, Schedule Officer for Farm Institutes within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said the idea of MOFA to collaborate with the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment in providing the trainees accommodation, training materials and human resource for their six-month training was a sign of Government's intention to improve present trends.

He announced that MOFA had spent over 150 million cedis to beef up the training materials while spending 700,000 cedis on each individual on feeding.

The Headmaster, Mr. Kwame Amankwa-Poku said the Institute was commissioned in February 1964 and had since trained over three thousand students.

He urged the government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the general public to come to the aid of the Institute. He suggested that District Assemblies in the region should sponsor at least five participants yearly at the Institute and set them up after their training.

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