The Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE), has held a stakeholders forum to promote youth employment in the construction sector.

The forum, held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra on Wednesday, August 29, brought together top players in the construction value chain.

Panellists and participants of at the event highlighted key impediments to employing more youth, especially women, into the sector.

They singled out issues like lack of professionalism by Ghanaian artisans and other players in the construction value chain and called for standardised skills development drives to produce world-class, competent workforce.

YIEDIE’s work is grounded in the growing need to change the trend of unemployment in Ghana and has partnered with professional institutions to equip young people with the skills to be competitive in the job market.

During a panel discussion, a representative of the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA) and CEO of Homes Direct, Samuel Amegayabor, called for a government-led policy to attract more youth into the construction sector.

He said until a policy is developed efforts to tackle growing youth unemployment in Ghana will not yield tangible results.

Project Director at Global Communities in charge of YIEDIE, Vera Kafui-Mills Odoi, noted that YIEDIE has trained over 4,000 women in various modules under the construction sector but with notable challenges.

She said a common setback has been that some of the women get pregnant before completing their skills development course.

“Once pregnancy comes they have to take a break because they will not be able to deal with the rigours of the training and when that child is born you need to take care of it. So it takes about six months for the female to go off the programme and then get back,” she said.

Vera Kafui-Mills Odoi

But the forum has, she noted, has provided YIEDIE with a wealth of insight into progressive ways to refine the beneficiaries for the market. She said project coordinators at YIEDIE will put the inputs from the forum together, validate them with partner institutions and roll them out for optimal impact.

On how YIEDIE will tackle concerns raised by panellists, especially unprofessionalism among artisans, Kafui-Mills Odoi said the project has always made it a point to include soft skills development in its training.

“We already have a content that has been designed for soft skills – issues around behaviour, attitude etc – so we would rather now enhance it by adding more day,” she said.

YIEDIE forum

Photo: The panel discussion was chaired by Rockson Dogbegah, Chair of AGI Construction Sector and CEO of Berock Ventures

YIEDIE project

YIEDIE’s target is to reach at least 23,700 youth with training in technical, life and entrepreneurship skills leading to employment by 2020. So far it has trained some 12,862 youths in technical skills, 4,417 of which are women.

The project applies an integrated youth-led market-systems model to improve the capacity of youth and service providers across the value chain. Youth will benefit from having job opportunities and higher income. 

Sector stakeholders—such as private sector firms, financial service providers, training institutions and government—are expected to benefit from improved coordination and capacity.

YIEDIE targets five of Ghana’s six largest cities—Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ashaiman and Tema. The project will target the approximately 113,000 17-24-year-olds in these cities who have dropped out of school, living on less than $2/day. YIEDIE has two objectives: 1. Increased employment (including self-employment) in the construction sector by targeted youth; and 2. increased coordination and support for a better enabling environment by construction sector stakeholders.

YIEDIE's five components are:

• Youth Readiness for Employment and Entrepreneurship

• Access to Financial Service Providers Capable of Serving Youth

• Access to Demand-Driven Training and Service Providers

• Youth Enterprise Start-Up and Recruitment by Employers

• Collaboration for Positive Government Policies