Lack of Skills Festering Unemployment – YEA Boss

Kofi Agyepong, CEO of YEA addressing participants at the fair

THE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Kofi Agyepong, has intimated that the lack of relevant skills among the Ghanaian youth continues to fester high rates of unemployment in the country, despite several vacancies for employment being available in various sectors.

Speaking at the 2022 Job Fair in Sunyani, Mr. Agyepong called for a collective change by relevant stakeholders in the patterns of investments into well-enhanced skills that would stay with the youth forever.

“I have been asking myself since I took over the Agency: if Tullow Ghana Limited asks me to supply them with 200 trained and certified electricians today, will I be able to provide them? If AngloGold Ashanti requests YEA to provide them with 500 trained and certified industrial machine engineers, will I be able to provide them? If the Ghana Water Company requests 100 trained and certified plumbers for employment today, can I provide them?

I met an investor friend a few days ago. His major problem has been finding certified mechanics who can repair his company’s excavators, bull loaders, crushing machines, etc. at his quarry site at Shai Hills. Whenever any of these machines are faulty, it becomes a headache for him. He hardly can put together a team of hardworking young people to service the machines. These are the real skills needed on the grounds”, he shared.

Mr. Agyepong also touched on the high influx of foreign artisans, especially from Togo, in Ghana – a situation he said was making Ghana gradually lose her informal sector, describing it as a “looming national crisis.”

“You want the best of masons to put up a building for you, you want the best of P.O.P done for you in your house, you want the best of plumbers to fix your pipes, and even painting, and you are directed to artisans from Togo because they deliver the best of these services.

“Have we as a country considered the quantum of resources we are losing as a result of this? Are we saying that we cannot train our young men and women to provide these services? Will that not empower them with a life skill that they can at all times provide for themselves, and their families and ease the pressure on the government to provide jobs?” he lamented.

In his advice to the youth, the YEA boss entreated participants, who were mostly youth from various educational institutions, to treat the event seriously; and also “take every advantage of the fair and reach out to as many employers as they can, saying, “it is the best opportunity you can find today to make that dream you long aspire, to come through.”

By Nii Adjei Mensahfio