The Western Region Coastal Foundation (WRCF) organised a multi-stakeholder meeting, early May, to help determine the inputs and needs of Ghana”™s oil, gas and power hub, and to create common agreement on standards and how they can best be used to drive growth in the industry.
To say the nascent oil and gas industry is disrupting the local economy of the country”™s Western Region is to state the obvious.
However, high expectations that the industry will bring positive economic, social and environmental impacts, especially among residents of the six host coastal districts, is not certain, given the high skills-set required to be effectively engaged by the industry, which incidentally is somewhat lacking among the youth and young adults in the host communities.
To address some of these expectations, oil, gas and power companies are undertaking social investment initiatives aimed at improving their engagement with these communities and stakeholders.
Recent studies, however, reveal that the active work force is disconnected from the industry as most of the youth are missing key educational and employment experiences thereby being at increased risk for a host of negative outcomes including unemployment and poverty that may lead to criminal behaviour and incarceration.
Mr. Matthew Armah, WRCF”™s CEO disclosed it is against this backdrop that the Foundation is collaborating with CPI Training, a Canadian training firm with focus mainly in the technical trades to work together to identify and prioritise actions that are needed to progress the TVET (Technical and vocational educational training) system in the country.
The WRCF is seeking to help coordinate efforts of all stakeholders including government, industry players and the host communities in creating common agreement on standards to foster progress in the industry.
The CPI Training has done some work in analysing the current technical and vocational education skills training system in Ghana relating to key industrial trades including welding, mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation within the extractives sector.
The efforts aim at determining the related needs of industry and any gaps between Industries”™ expectations and the human resource being delivered by vocational and technical institutions and provide recommendations to improve the skill training sector in Ghana in both the immediate and long-term.
Some key findings are that there is a lack of competent tradesmen coming out of TVET programmes with practical abilities severely lacking while a lack of Industry recognized standards at vocational schools is also leading to a lack of student knowledge of standards.
The WRCF is a not-for-profit organisation, supported by the UKAid through the Department of International Development (DFID). It seeks to provide an effective mechanism needs to ensure an integrated local approach, based on credible and transparent data generated by trusted parties, to inform investors with clear pathways to sustainability and social and economic return on investment.
It envisions creating and delivering world class economic, social, and environmental development programmes for the people in the coastal communities of the Western Region, based on innovative stakeholder partnerships with the private sector, national, regional and local government, development agencies, donors, and civil society.