The Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhiE) has licensed and inducted 118 artisans under its Craftsmen Register in Takoradi, in the Western Region.
The inductees are from the Professionalisation of Artisans (ProfArts) project, pioneered by the Engineering Council with funding support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ),
The project is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), with supports from the GhiE, Vodafone Ghana, Robert Bosch Ghana, Consolidated Bank Ghana and Uvex Arbeitsschutz Gmbh to invest in jobs in that sector.
It is expected that the project would professionalise the services of 10,000 artisans in the construction sector in all the 16 regions of Ghana.
The Team Lead, Invest for Jobs, GIZ Ghana, Mr John Chamond Duti, was excited about the contribution of the project in closing the skill gap and improving the employment situation within the industry.
The construction sector, he noted, was one of the fastest growing sectors in the Ghanaian economy due to rising demand for homes and property and the government’s investments in rail, road and property projects.
However, despite the growth and job potential of the construction sector, Mr Duti said the lack of qualified workers, technical skill gap, lack of soft skills and customers orientation was affecting quality delivery in the sector.
The global construction sector he said was becoming increasing technologically advanced, and that, the Ghanaian artisans and construction business could not afford to remain static, but act to become competitive.
Most buildings, Mr Duti reported, were troubled with rising moisture content on walls, leaking roofs, cracks, and structural failure, and, therefore, it was crucial for Ghana’s construction sector to implement proper regulation and quality control measures that addressed these shortfalls in inferior quality of works.
He said So far, the skills of 1,580 artisans had been upgraded in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale, adding that, the target was to upgrade the skills in the regional capitals to offer quality services to their clientele.
Mr Duti added “We want to write success stories of craftsmen and women, who through their joint efforts, have increased their skills capacity, improved their fiscal management, have access to modern tools and equipment and a wider market through the mobile application. This will result in increased demand for services, more hands and therefore, employment for the unemployed, especially the youth.”
Chairman, Membership Committee, GhiE, Dr Patrick A. Bekoe, said the promulgation of the Engineering Council Act, act 819, and the Engineering Council Regulations, L.I 2410, coupled with the advancement in the use of equipment, the need for customer-focused service delivery and high professionalism ethics was long overdue.
He recalled that it was tune with these trends that GIZ and partners in 2019 together with GhiE initiated and implemented the ProfArts project.
The ProfArts project was intended to improve employment situation of local artisans and micro- enterprises in the construction sector and associated value chain, through technical skills upgrading, business skills and tool training, financial literacy, and licensing of craftsmen under GhiE.
In addition, a mobile application containing the database of all the craftsmen is being developed to help artisans gain access to a larger customer network and be able to offer services more efficiently and under fairer conditions.
Engineer Reverend Professor Charles Anum Adams, the President of the Ghana Institution of Engineers noted the need for real skills development to solve the many unemployment situation in the country.
He said it had been four decades of talks regarding technical and vocational skills but now the need for real actions to create more jobs and solve societal problems.
Professor Safo Ankamah, Director In-charge of Distance Learning at the Takoradi Technical University who facilitated their training said the university would not relent on its vision to produce world class technical workforce for industry and development.
He recalled how the project took off in October 2021 with focus on nine trade areas; electrical installation, glazing, masonry, metal work and welding, painting, plumbing, steel bending, roofing, tiling, soft and business skills.
He said the inductees had been introduced to recent technologies and their applications to enhance their work.
Professor Ankamah said, “The artisans are fit for purpose ” and encouraged them to subscribe to constant skills upgrade, have better attitude towards work to remain competitive in the job market.