The President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has challenged industry to be keen on giving employment to fresh graduates and train them on the job to acquire the necessary experience.
He said the situation where industry demanded some level of work experience before employing graduates was a disincentive to career development.
In the past, he said, many establishments recruited fresh young graduates and trained them to play useful roles in national development.
Addressing the opening session of a national conference on bridging the gap between education/training and industry in Accra Monday, President Mahama challenged educational institutions, especially the universities, to concentrate on producing graduates who the world of work was demanding.
The two-day conference, organised by the Ministry of Education, seeks to, among other things, engage all relevant stakeholders in education to address the emerging unemployment through well-thought out sustainable solutions.
He said the businesses and industry of today were demanding skilled workers, saying it was important the emphasis be placed on young people in those areas.
Key conference issues
Mr Mahama said the key issues being discussed at the conference were in line with the government’s determination to ensure that every Ghanaian trained in educational institutions entered the world of work with the right key to open the doors of success.
In that sense, he commended the Ministry of Education and other partners for promoting a worthy cause.
He highlighted the importance for a collaboration between the educational sector and industry towards achieving a common goal.
Significant achievements, he said, had been made in the educational sector, emphasising that “the quality of education we provide remains a matter of great national interest”.
The President said with the ongoing construction of community senior high schools, more graduates were going to be produced who would end up on the job market seeking decent employment
Touching on the misalignment between training at educational institutions and business and industry, the President said the government was keen on seeing a reverse of the situation, so that young graduates would fit into the job market.
As a result of the misalignment, some companies tended to rely on foreigners for certain skilled jobs, he said.
Mr Mahama, therefore, underscored the need for young people to pursue courses tailored to the needs of industry.
He said the transformation in certain key sectors of the economy, such as the services, tourism, and oil and gas, needed the services of certain specialisations and it was high time educational institutions responded to such needs.
He said as a nation, there was the need to ask if the huge number of MBA Marketing and Management graduates being produced, as well as others in the Humanities, could find employment.
Unfortunately, he said, in Ghana the study of vocational and technical courses was looked down as being meant for school dropouts.
The President said the remuneration system which did not favour skilled workers was a disincentive for young persons to study vocational and technical subjects.
The Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, said the ministry was determined to ensure the training of graduates who would not loiter and that was why it was collaborating with industry to change the current situation for the better.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries, Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah, underscored the need for lecturers on sabbatical leave to use the period to go to local industries to impart knowledge to workers.