17.04.2005 General News

Government support STEP Graduates

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Bepong (E/R), April 17, GNA - The Government has released five billion cedis through various micro finance institutions to support needy graduates of the Skills Training and Employment Placement Programme (STEP).

Over 27,000 people have been trained throughout the country in various trade areas including fabric tie and dye, dressmaking, carpentry, metal fabrication, construction, masonry, food processing and computer hardware since the inception of the programme three years ago to address the high unemployment rate in the country.

The Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Dr Charles Brempong-Yeboah who gave the figures was speaking at the graduation ceremony of 25 youths who have completed their three month training in various vocations at the Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills(ICCES) under the STEP programme at Bepong.

He said the disbursement of the credit facility is underway in most of the rural banks and urged the new graduates to take advantage of the initiative and constitute themselves into co-operatives to have assess to it.

The Deputy Minister urged the District Chief Executives and Assembly Members not only to participate in the STEP graduation but also get actively involved in identifying potential areas that could promote rapid job creation and other employment avenues for the unemployment youth.

He advised the graduates to be creative and innovative by making effective use of the knowledge acquired to improve their living standards for the rapid development of the country.

The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Ms. Susana Mensah said the programme was intended to provide the unskilled youth with vocations for them to earn a living which falls in line with the government's belief that a private sector-led economy could lift the citizens from the doldrums of poverty and deprivation.

She urged the Management of the ICCES Centre to support the young trainees to get credit assistance from the Ministry of Women and Children's Affair, the President's Special Initiative and the District Assembly's Poverty Alleviation Fund to generate self-employment.

The Manager of the ICCES, Mr Essah Berlinman said the centre had trained forty youth in various vocations under the STEP programme while 75 new youth had, at the moment enrolled at the centre.

He appealed to Kwahu South and West Assemblies, the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment for financial assistance to construct a workshop, hostel and to purchase tools for the centre to train more unemployed youth in the area.

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