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10.09.2005 Business & Finance

150 youths acquire skills under STEP programme


Sekondi, Sept 10, GNA - Some 150 unemployed youths who underwent a year's training in metal machining, welding and carpentry under the government's Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) programme passed out at a colourful ceremony at Sekondi on Saturday. The grandaunts, including 10 girls, also acquired knowledge and skills in good housekeeping and sanitation, preventive maintenance, vehicle repairs and good work ethics.

Their training was undertaken by the GRATIS Foundation and sponsored by the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment. Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, said in an address read for him that the government's determination to provide the youth with employable skills had not been an empty slogan but a policy being consistently pursued.

''Since the programme began many people, who would otherwise have no source of livelihood, have been trained and absorbed by industries and other entrepreneurs while others have established their own businesses.''

He advised the grandaunts to take advantage of the numerous opportunities the government is offering to enter into gainful employment and contribute to the well being of their families and the society at large.

Mr Aidoo commended GRATIS Foundation for its efforts to reduce unemployment and poverty and to enhance accelerated growth of the economy. He said the government would support the Foundation to enable it to step up the production of machinery. Awulae Annor Adjaye III, Omanhene of Western Nzema Traditional Area, told the youth to guard against the "get-rich-quick" syndrome and adopt attitudes that would enable them to lay good foundation for their future.

He advised them to be disciplined and respectful and also avoid pre-marital sex that could destroy their lives. Mr George Twumasi, Regional Manager of GRATIS Foundation, lauded the government's policy to assist JSS graduates to acquire free employable skills through apprenticeship training from 2007.

He called on district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies to support and facilitate the free apprenticeship training for school dropouts. Mr Twumasi also called for the establishment of more vocational and technical schools in the districts to enhance the programme to equip the youth with employable skills.