Employment Minister Ignatius Barfour Awuah says government is doubling its efforts to ensure the provision of employment opportunities for students who will be graduating annually from second cycle institutions.

Following the success of government’s free Senior High School (SHS) programme, an estimated 1.2 million students are expected to graduate from SHS.

According to him, the success of government’s free SHS programme and the expected high enrolment rate in TVETs following government’s decision to make them free will immensely contribute to a large supply of skilled labour in the country, which may lead to employment challenges.

Thus, it is prudent on government’s side to start planning employment opportunities for the large number of students who will be graduating as a means of tackling rising unemployment issues in the country.

He said: “The issue of unemployment is expected to grow in the short to medium term due to the success of the government’s free SHS program and the planned TVET for Senior High Technical Schools.

“More than 1.2 million young people will be graduating annually from second cycle institutions to enrol in tertiary education or training or move directly into the labour markets.

“This is an increase from the 800,000 students enrolled in secondary schools in 2016. Efforts must therefore be doubled to ensure that employment opportunities exist for the products of our education and training institutions,” he said.

The Employment Minister made this known while delivering the keynote address at the launch of a report by the World Bank on youth unemployment in Ghana.

He mentioned that despite the imminent rise of unemployment in the country, government has started promoting agribusiness and entrepreneurship to the youth as viable employment opportunities.

“To this end, the government is promoting agribusiness and entrepreneurship to make them attractive to the youth. The cassava enterprise project, national entrepreneurship plan and presidential pitch are key examples of some of the interventions the government is using to provide jobs for young persons.

“These efforts are in addition to traditional employment opportunities in the formal sectors of the economy,” he said.

The Minister further added that government is looking to maintain and attract strong collaborations with both local and international partners to ensure that more jobs are created to employ young people, as government will be unable to single handedly employ the large population.

He also mentioned that government will also put in more effort in creating a business friendly atmosphere for businesses in order to improve employment rates.