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28.01.2005 Regional News

Sinapi Aba launches Youth Apprenticeship Programme

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Accra, Jan 28, GNA - The problem with unemployment continues to pose a great challenge to the development of the youth in the country, Mr Kwabena Afranie, Assemblyman for Niiboiman electoral area has observed. Referring to the 2003 Ghana Human Development Report, Mr Afranie indicated that the current unemployment situation in the country, which is growing fast among the youth, aged between 18 and 24 was serious and must be addressed.

Speaking at the launch of a youth apprenticeship programme organised by Sinapi Aba Trust, a financial non-governmental organisation on Friday, Mr. Afranie, pointed out that the situation had made such unfortunate youth vulnerable to diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) as well as other social vices. The programme, under the theme: "Employable Entrepreneurial Skills Development, an Antidote for Youth Development" brought together 50 youth to be trained in batik, tie and dye, carpentry dressmaking and masonry, among others, for six months to one year.

Mr. Afranie said that in their desperation to earn a living, the unskilled youth try their hands on all sorts of trade, ranging from shoe shinning, trading and offering their services in diverse ways, which do not provide them with enough future security.

"If the youth are given some skill training on their various fields of interests they could perform better," he added.

He called for pragmatic and strategically designed interventions aimed at turning around the situation so that they could be fully integrated into society and contribute meaningfully towards national development. Mr. Afranie said the provision of vocational and entrepreneurial skills for the youth was one of the viable options that would make them employable and provide them with the needed security for the future. He commended the organisers of the programme for helping to address the unemployment situation among the youth.

Mr. Kwadwo Konadu Assiamah, Executive Director of Sinapi Aba Trust said initially the organisation was to assist and support the poor and deprived enterprises with loans or credit facilities as a way of alleviating poverty in the country.

However, he said, it added another dimension, which aims at offering employable skills to deprived and vulnerable youth in the society, since that had better repercussions on the entire economy. He said already, about 100 youth had undergone employable skills in Kumasi and were now gainfully employed. He urged the trainees to be committed to the programme in order to come out successfully.

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