Demand and Supply of Skills in Ghana: How Can Training Programs Improve Employment?

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As many as 24 million youths live in Ghana. In the last 20 years it has shown impressive gains in economic growth and in poverty reduction. Sustained growth requires three steps:

  • Increase productivity in the strategic economic sectors
  • Diversify the economy
  • Expand employment

Raising the quality and quantity of skills provides a contribution to these drivers of sustained growth. Skills development in Ghana encompasses foundational skills (literacy, numeracy), transferable and soft skills, and technical and vocational skills. These skills are acquired throughout life through formal education, training, and higher education; on the job through work experience and professional training; through family and community; and via the media.

This paper is concerned with TVET in Ghana at the pre-tertiary level. TVET alone does not guarantee productivity gains or job creation. A mixture of cognitive, non-cognitive, intermediate, and higher technical skills is required to enhance competitiveness and contribute to social inclusion, acceptable employment, and the alleviation of poverty. The public financing approach and general lack of incentives to improve TVET in Ghana help to perpetuate a supply-driven, low-quality skills system that responds very poorly to the needs of the economy, and especially its growth sectors. It is recommended that the national skills strategy in Ghana should aim to complement, and be complemented by, reforms that are underway in related sectors (for example, private sector development and employment, the informal economy, information and communication technologies, and agriculture). Sustainable financing for the skills development fund (SDF) is an example of an innovative reform. Channelling TVET resources through a SDF facilitate the allocation of funds in line with general national socioeconomic priorities and specific priorities identified by Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET).

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