Ghana: developing training, creating jobs

National occupational competitions held with German support

84 trainees competed in the WorldSkills Ghana National Competition in Accra in 14 disciplines and demonstrated the huge potential offered by young people for the country's future. In future, Ghana will be using occupational competitions and the global WorldSkills standards to independently drive forward the development of vocational education and training (VET) in their own country. WorldSkills Germany will be on hand to support this as the German cooperation partner.

"Vocational education and training is a key catalyst in driving forward industrialisation and encouraging job creation for the citizens of this country," explains Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana, at the opening of the WorldSkills Ghana National Competition on the 27 October 2021 in Accra/Ghana. "In order to ensure sustainable development, it is essential that we focus in particular on the training of highly qualified personnel as the main driving force behind the economy. Moving Ghana beyond development aid can only be possible if young people are given the skills to compete globally and are introduced to a range of different qualified occupations," added Bawumia.

Occupational competitions such as WorldSkills are intended as a tool to help in this. In 2019, Ghana therefore joined the umbrella organisation WorldSkills International, becoming its 81st member. One of Ghana's goals was to use occupational competitions to develop training in the country and to make it more attractive. With its recognised training organisation WorldSkills Germany, Germany is a cooperation partner to the Ghanaian stakeholders and has been on hand with advice and support for Ghana since June 2020.

From 28 to 29 October 2021, Ghana was therefore in a position to take an important initial step. The WorldSkills Ghana National Skills Competition in the Accra Technical Training Center (ATTC) was the first national occupational competition to be held based on the internationally applicable WorldSkills standards. It provided 84 trainees with an ideal platform on which to present their skills nationally in 14 occupational disciplines and to surpass themselves both professionally and personally. The young skilled workers had previously qualified for the national competition through regional competitions run by the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) – the Department of Education's VET agency – and by WorldSkills Ghana.

VET stakeholders came together in Accra under the banner of "Reorganising VET as a tool to support Ghana beyond development aid" to discuss the future of vocational education and training in their own country. "We are establishing strong partnerships between our institutions and business as well as our development partners. We are reorganising curricula and evaluation systems in order to align these with the needs of the economy and business. We are also improving our certification system in the process", explained Dr. Fred Kyei Asamoah, Director-General of the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

Hubert Romer, Managing Director and official delegate of WorldSkills Germany, emphasised that WorldSkills competitions make an important contribution to the training of young skilled workers. "The purpose of the fun and competitive element is to make the competition accessible to young people in order that the standards set by WorldSkills can contribute to vocational education and training in Ghana which is able to compete internationally." This is because, he explains, WorldSkills is not just an event. “Instead, it is a global movement, the largest of its type, in which competitors prove again and again that young people with an outstanding level of training are the future of their nation and of our world," emphasized Romer.

Occupational competitions ultimately strengthen the professional, social and personal skills of young people and provide a unique opportunity to showcase occupations in an exciting way to the general public and to generate enthusiasm among other young people for training.

In Ghana too, lots of pupils are often unaware of the range of occupations and career opportunities which training offers them. Occupational competitions also increase motivation and determination. The skilled workers take the knowledge acquired through the training and the competitions with them into their companies and in this way ensure a transfer of knowledge which benefits the entire economy. "The level shown by participants in all disciplines was pleasingly high," explains Romer. "I was impressed by the skilled workers in the technical and IT occupations. In these areas, not much more is needed to make it to world level".

Ghana now needs to continue working on expanding vocational education and training and on its professionalisation. Specific goals are being targeted in terms of occupational competitions. This spring, the country would like to compete with its own national team in Africa Skills and in October it aims to finally participate in the world championships of vocational skills, WorldSkills Shanghai 2022. In the future, WorldSkills Germany is happy to remain on hand to support Ghana with its expertise and its committed team, which also includes German national trainers.

Source: (German news portal on Africa), revised by iMOVE, April 2022