29.04.2005 Regional News

STEP trainee appeals for soft credit packages

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Ho, April 29 GNA- A beneficiary of the national Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP), has suggested the need for the government to consider underwriting bank credits for graduates of the programme. She said this would give vim to the programme, which aims at mobilising the large numbers of unemployed youth for self-employment to accelerate national development.

Miss Stella Dzadu, the Course Prefect of the first batch of trainees of STEP at the Women's Training Institute in Ho, made the suggestion during the graduation of the 53 trainees. She said while the programme had given the participants confidence and richer knowledge to face the world, it must go along with practical outlays to put and keep trainees in business. The trainees, between 15 and 35 years undertook three to six months training in hairdressing, food processing as well as soap, batik, tie and dye making.

Mr Mawutor Goh, Municipal Chief Executive said the STEP programme was in line with government's human resource development. He said skills training was high on the government's agenda to improve on the national human resource base.

Mr Goh advised the graduates to form cooperative groups to enable them acquire credits from the banks.

Mr Jasper Awuku Ahadzi, Manager of the North-Tongu Rural Bank announced that the graduates would be beneficiaries of soft loans ranging from one million cedis and two million cedis provided by the Ministry of Manpower Development, Youth and Employment. Madam Bernice Aculey, Headmistress of the Women's Training Institute urged Ghanaians to embrace the STEPS programme to reduce unemployment.

She appealed to the government to provide the Institute with staff bungalows, a dinning hall and a demonstration block. Miss Hellen Alai, Acting Volta Regional Director of the National Council on Women and Development who presided, expressed regrets that some women trainees were forced out of the programme because of their inability to cope with transport fares to the Institute located about three kilometres from town.

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