A Training and Retraining component of the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS) has kicked off to enhance the capacity of more than 15,000 people nationwide with skills that can earn them jobs.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, launched the Training and Retraining component of the programme yesterday with a pledge by the government to find lasting solutions to the unemployment menace in the country.
Mr Ofori-Atta also assured prospective participants that the government would pay the required fees to enable them to benefit from the knowledge to be offered and further advised workers to take advantage of the opportunity to enhance their employable skills.
The minister said the initiative was part of the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisations of Enterprises Support (CARES) “Obaatan pa” programme that the government was using to build back from the ravages of the pandemic.
He was optimistic that it would serve as a mitigating measure for unexpected future events that might disrupt employment in the country.
He said it was designed to focus on skills upgrading, work ethics, productivity and attitudinal change to boost workers’ prospects for re-entry into the labour market at higher levels of productivity or performance.
He said at the event that an implementation committee, with membership from the government, organised labour, and employers, had been constituted to see to the effective implementation of the programme.
Mr Ken Ofori Atta said the government, in the 2020 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review, announced the establishment of a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS) and a Training and Retraining Programme as part of the “Obaatan Pa” GhanaCARESProgramme as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households, firms, and the economy.
MrOfori-Atta explained that the programme was developed through extensive consultations between government and key stakeholders comprising representatives from the Ministry Finance, the Ministry of Employment & Labour Relations, Organised Labour and Ghana Employers Association and other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
Other institutions included the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS), and Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF).
He said the programme would be implemented in two phases with the first covering workers in the sectors that were mostly affected by the pandemic, the private education sector and the tourism and hospitality sector.
The second phase, he said, would cover other sectors of the economy with emphasis on vocational and technical training.
Mr Ofori-Atta explained that beneficiaries who enrolled in the programme had two options.
He said the first option was for workers who had the requirement and capacity to pursue existing academic programme or courses available in the various training institutions.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, said the initiative would help bring calm on the labour front as it would provide hope for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, expressed excitement about the initiative and said the labour front had been expecting the launch of the programme since it was first announced two years ago.