The first batch of graduates enrolled in the Enterprise Ghana model of Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) will begin work in the first week of August.
The Enterprise Model is one of the seven models under the new initiative by the government to address the growing challenge of graduate unemployment and the demand of job experience by employers.
The Trades and Industry Ministry has been engaging businesses on modalities for effective participation in Kumasi.
Some 200 businesses who are members of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Ghana Chamber of Commerce have so far been engaged.
The meeting with the businesses seeks to look at how the ministry and the NABCO programme is going to work with the 200 beneficiaries.
Although the target is 500 graduates, the ministry wants to find a sustainable way of getting the current 200 graduates into the companies as part of a very structured and detailed apprenticeship programme.
Deputy Minister for Trades and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, says the apprenticeship programme will culminate in the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with these companies.
“These companies come from the One District-One Factory program, The Stimulus Package, Private Sector Federation, Association of Ghana Industries, representatives from the Ghana Chamber of Commerce (GCC) etc… and our idea is that we are going to sign a MoU with every one of these companies with the view of taking the graduates that they need to help them run their businesses,” he said.
Having done that, it will mean the ministry would have agreed with them over the three-year period that each graduate will have twelve weeks of guaranteed training – six weeks by the government and the other six weeks by the companies.
The Ministry also revealed plans to have a monitoring and impact evaluation of the various beneficiaries.
A monthly allowance of GHS700 for personnel under the programme has generated misunderstanding among some graduates after it was announced.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsey revealed that government will pay the allowances for only the first part of the three years, then participating businesses will then assume responsibility for the remuneration for the rest of the period.
“What we have basically started is that for one and half of the three years, the government will pay for that support. We will continue to provide the six-week training as government all the three years. The middle of the second year, the companies will pick up the cost till the end of the third year,” the Deputy Minister explained.
AGI to employ 80% of NABCO graduates
Meanwhile, the AGI has said it will employ 80% of graduate participants under the enterprise model.
Ashanti and Bono Ahafo Zonal Chairman for the Association, Afua Gyanfua Owusu Achiaw, says graduate participants will be employed provided they meet the standard of employment requirement after the training period of three years.
The mandate of the AGI and other featuring business associations is to support the government to interview the applicants and help them enrol the applicants into the private sector for onward training.
“In recent times, you employ these graduates and you must give them on the job training so if the government is collaborating with us, it augers well for the industry. We are also to retain some of the good ones after their period of training but we are ready to employ 80% of those who will be training with us but it depends on the people who will be trained anyways,” she said.
Categories of businesses being engaged
The Enterprise Ghana Model of the NABCO is not only looking at existing companies.
Mr Lindsey says there are three categories of companies.
– Startup companies under the One District One Factory Initiative
– Existing companies that are ready to expand will take on people because it is the best way to go because we need to expand our businesses so we have a few business giants going forward
– Then we have those companies we call them Rejuvenation; those who for whatever reason have had to shut down or have severely limited current activities with 20 to 30 per cent capacity and so we looking to bring them up to 100 per cent
Officials of the ministry and players in the industry are optimistic the NABCO will achieve its objectives.