Director-General for the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) Professor Alex Dodoo has said there is an urgent need to formalise the informal sector skills industry to reduce the rate at which goods and services are imported, and thus help position Ghana as an equal player on the international scene when it comes to skills development.
According to him, what’s required in the Ghanaian market is to certify skills from the informal sector to meet both local and international standards as that will not only lead to increased production capacity but also increase the demand for made-in Ghana products outside the domestic market.
“Currently, we are importing labour; if you work in oil and gas, you import all your fabricators; and if you work in the construction industry you import electricians. And now even with the IT industry that has resilient young minds, we still tend to import and we even import the certifications just to be sure that we can trade across geographies.
“An entrepreneur could have good products, but scaling-up to produce at volume is always a problem. How do we move the very good products in Ghana to become a world brand? It is volumes that bring the profits in, and so the GSA wants to provide the standards, specification, and requirements as well as train them [informal sector workers] to have a system they can use to drive and sustain these businesses,” he said.
Addressing the media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship Foundry Fellows interaction held at the Design and Technological Institute (DTI) in Accra, Professor Alex Dodoo indicated that the GSA is working collaboratively with DTI to strengthen implementation of the precision quality training programme toward churning out qualified experts to meet the job market.
He lauded the institute’s efforts in bridging the gap between various institutions and industry, as it shapes talent to meet the job market. “There’s a disconnect between the universities and industry, and by providing skills we will create jobs. I am very pleased to note that all the products of DTI are moving straight to industry,” he said.
On her part, Chief Executive Officer of DTI, Constance Swaniker, echoing the sentiments of Professor Dodoo said DTI is focused on improving Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) in Ghana by training students to meet acceptable standards in the industry-workforce.
She charged Ghanaians to be purpose-driven and particular about what they seek to achieve, and work hard toward achieving it.
“DTI seeks to unlock potentials for high-quality jobs, and there is a need for us to drastically change the narrative around what technical education looks like. So, DTI is set up as a module to champion what high-quality training should look like. I always tell young people that jobs do exist, but the quality of jobs that the industry is looking for is what’s missing and DTI seeks to champion the potential for us to leapfrog,” she said.
DTI’s Precision Quality Training Programme
The Design and Technology Institute’s (DTI) Precision Quality (PQ) training programme is designed for an effective integration of young people into the world of work.
The PQ programme was designed and developed in partnership with industry experts, and also forms part of DTI’s agreement with the MasterCard Foundation to create 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in Ghana by May 2023.
The project will provide training to 1,000 youth in precision fabrication while enhancing the base learning of selected technical universities in TVET training to reach 5,000 students, train 5,000 Master Crafts Persons as well as 1,000 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to enhance their artisanal skills thereby meeting global market needs.