A leading Canadian non-profit organization, WUSC has launched a five-year project dubbed, “Innovation in Non-Traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training” (INVEST) for women in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Accra.
In April 2021, Global Affairs Canada awarded a CAD $8.5 million grant to WUSC to deliver the INVEST initiative to promote sustainable pathways and enhance the economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive growth of 5,000 urban poor young women in Ghana.
INVEST Project Director, Appiah Boakye at the launch and the editor’s forum at Alisa Hotel said that, “WUSC is excited about the opportunity that INVEST provides to strengthen and connect TVET system actors on both the supply and demand side of the labour market to holistically address how community, industry and training providers can encourage and nurture women to take up lucrative skilled work that will lead to greater economic prosperity for young women and ultimately mother Ghana”.
The five-year collaborative initiative from 2020 to 2025 seeks to specifically invest in women, institutions and labour markets of high-growth, male-dominated trades. The goal is to empower women to achieve economic growth in Ghana through a threefold multidimensional approach.
According to the 5-year initiative of WUSC, one of the approaches are to strengthen existing apprenticeship programs and expand opportunities for young girls to access formal and informal apprenticeship programs through institutions and the private sector.
Another approach is to entice the private sector to support young women’s entry into the sector and building the business acumen of female graduates and entrepreneurs; thus, there will be outreach and sensitization at the community, industry, institutional and national levels around the inclusivity of women within male-dominated trade areas.
Mr Appiah Boakye again indicated that WUSC through the INVEST initiative will utilize an inclusive market systems approach to strengthen the capacity of a diverse array of TVET stakeholders to support women trainees, graduates, artisans and entrepreneurs in male-dominated trades.
“Leveraging on partner expertise, WUSC, working alongside ABANTU for Development, National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, Ghana Chamber of Construction and Industry, Women in Law and Development, Self Search Ghana, Commission for TVET, Farm Radio International, Lyme Haus Solutions and National Vocational Training Institute, will improve the functionality of system actors within the TVET system to deliver market-relevant and gender-sensitive training and support services to young women,” he mentioned.
At the launch of the five-year project “INVEST” to impact 5,000 young women in Ghana, it was established that WUSC intends to focus on two primary employment pathways: formal wage employment and entrepreneurship. By establishing a business case for employers in the industry to hire, retain and promote women in the workforce, as well as co-organized business competitions with industry partners to encourage women to start-up or scale businesses, women will be able to secure better opportunities and create an empowered life for themselves.
“The plan to strategically partner with the private sector will accelerate the achievement and bring systemic impact to INVEST female employment and entrepreneurship agenda since the private sector has innovation, expertise, resources, extensive networks and capabilities which they can bring through entrepreneurship and market-based solutions that have the potential for achieving scale and sustainability in tackling systematic gender-based challenges in the non-traditional TVET sector,” Nii-Tackie-Otoo, INVEST Business Development Advisor explained.