A development practitioner has said for the country to catch up with the advanced nations, there was the need to empower and equip the youth with Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills for self-employment in their chosen professions.
Mr. Edmund Pinto, Country Director of The Turing Trust, a Non-Governmental Organization concerned with youth education and empowerment said the current era of globalization and ICT revolution required concerted efforts by government and other stakeholders to support the youth with the requisite employable skills to make them self-sustainable and curb the surging rural-urban drift.
Mr. Pinto expressed these concerns at the closing of a four-day capacity-building workshop for managers and manageress of Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills (ICCES) drawn from Central and Western Regions, at Shama, in the Western Region.
The event organized by The Turing Trust, afforded the participants the opportunity to learn management functions and financial reporting, as well as proper electronic waste disposal and maintenance of computers and their accessories to ensure a longer life span.
The NGO, he said, aimed at supporting ICCES and other needy schools across the country with computers and accessories for administrative purposes to ensure efficiency in their operations and expose trainees to the world of ICT.
So far, he said, it had supplied computers and accessories to some ICCES centres in the Volta, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central, Greater Accra, Eastern and Western Regions to the tune of GHc26, 000, and also shortlisted 30 trainees for scholarships amounting to GHc6, 000 this year.
The NGO, he said, relied on philanthropists, volunteers and well-wishers for support towards its activities, and said it had put up a computer laboratory for ICCES centre at Afoako in the Amansie Central of the Ashanti Region, to promote ICT education.
The National Director of ICESS, Mr. Godwin Kudese, said currently there were 61 ICCES centres across the country with over 2OOO trainees undergoing various apprenticeships in technical and vocational skills.
He said the primary aim of the centre was to provide employable skills to the rural folks to curb the increasing rural-urban drift and its attendant social vices.
Some skills areas being taught at the centres included auto mechanic, electrical and body works, electronics, catering, cosmetics, dressmaking, draughtmanship and landscaping, ICT, hairdressing, among others.
Mr. Kudese mentioned some challenges facing the centres as lack of training funding and start-up capital for ICCES graduates to set up their enterprises, insufficient logistics for effective monitoring and evaluation, as well as lack of refresher courses for instructors and managers of the centres to upgrade their skills in the face of the fast changes in technology globally.