The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Design and Technology Institute (DTI), Constance Elizabeth Swaniker, has challenged universities to adequately prepare their students for the workplace by investing in skills training.
She said skills, and not merely certificates, were the new currency on the labour market, and for that matter higher institutions needed to adjust properly.
Ms Swaniker make the call at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DTI, a privately accredited Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institute, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to implement other Precision Quality programmes to help train and equip young people with precision fabrication skills.
The Precision Quality programme aims to boost the competency-based learning and improve the work skills of master craftsmen as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to meet industry standards.
The MoU formed part of DTI’s collaborative strategy to work with stakeholders for “transforming youth TVET livelihood for sustainable jobs”,
Ms Swaniker said the programme was being implemented in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation’s “Young Africa Works” strategy, which sought to enable 30 million young people, particularly women, to access dignified and fulfilling work opportunities by 2030.
According to Ms Swaniker, many graduates lacked skills, the reason many completed universities and could not find jobs.
“This (Precision Quality programme) will deliberately teach students and artisans how to focus on precision, using the right tools and make sure everything that comes out meet global standards, adding that was all industry needed.
Ms Swaniker disagreed with the widely held view that there was lack of jobs in the country, explaining it was rather due to the skills required of industry that many lacked.
“My Hands, My Future”, the slogan for the programme, she said, sought to encourage the youth to use their hands in diverse ways to build responsible lives for themselves.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo, on behalf of the management of the university, embraced the collaboration, saying the university was committed to providing the needed support to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.
He said since the programme was centered on precision it would help in the effective training of the students to get their priorities right in TVET education.