The Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) has fixed the 2014 Skills/Technology Fair 2014 to September 30 to October 1 at the Accra International Conference Center.
The Fair forms part of strategies adopted by COTVET through the Skills Development Fund (SDF) platform to share the outcomes of its support to the private sector and promote dialogue between research and technology developers and industry.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday, Matthew Dally, SDF Project Coordinator said the Fair was a platform for addressing the skills and technology needs of business enterprises operating in both the formal and the informal sectors of the economy of Ghana.
He said it would provide both business and technological environment to share the outcomes of its support to the private sector as well as promote dialogue between research and technology developers and industry as part of its strategy.
The two-day event was under the banner of the Ministry of Education and sponsored by Danida and the World Bank and wouldbring together participants from small, medium and larger scale businesses, research institutions, science and technology institutions, development partners and the media.
The SDF is a challenge fund providing a demand-driven response to three critical challenges encountered by the productive sectors of Ghana: an adequately qualified labour force; the urgency of providing new entrants to the labour market with gainful, employable skills; and inadequate access to new technologies and innovations.
Mr Daly who is also the Head of the COTVET Project Support Unit (PSU), will hold special informational sessions on how to apply to SDF for funding.
He noted that the Fund has since 2011 approved about GH? 39 million worth of grants to 193 Ghanaian firms in support of innovate skills and technology development initiatives in the private sector and promote dialogue between research and technology developers and industry.
He said the establishment of the Fund is seen as one of a series of new mechanisms to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system and ensure sustainable sources of funding for TVET.
Mr Daly said to achieve this objective the SDF is designed to include responsive policy, governance structures, institutional arrangements, institutional capacities, systems and procedures to support life-long learning in TVET.
The SDF is embedded in the Government’s TVET policy which has as its mission to “improve the productivity and competitiveness of the skilled workforce and raise the income-earning capacities of people, especially women and low-income groups, through the provision of quality-oriented, industry-focused, and competency-based training programmes and complementary services.
He said currently, the SDF receives funds from the Ghanaian government and development partners, including the World Bank and DANIDA, for setting the SDF up as a pilot project.
The scheme is expected to provide COTVET with the opportunity to monitor, evaluate and develop a model for the expansion of the SDF to cover sectors of the Ghanaian economy in which skills and technological development are required to increase the competitiveness of Ghanaian enterprises and provide employment.
Mr Daly explained that the SDF caters to the skills needs of the formal and informal sectors of the economy; it will be available for continuous skills upgrading and, to a limited extent, and pre-employment initiatives.
The Fund will also support partnerships between science and technology providers and industry targeting productivity improvements, product diversification, and growth through technology development or organisational innovations.