The Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) Foundation for livelihood empowerment programme, under its Skilled Artisan Project (SAP), has trained 337 artisans, who graduated at a colourful ceremony in Cape Coast on Thursday.
The training was put together by GNPC, in partnership with ASEDA Foundation, the institution that collaborates with the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) to examine the trainees and issue them certificates.
Drawn from 22 districts of the Central Region, the beneficiaries went through three years of apprenticeship in various vocational skills such as makeup, plumbing, fashion designing, carpentry, auto-mechanics and general electricals.
Others are hairdressing, interior and exterior designing, decoration, aluminium fabrication, motor vehicle mechanic, engineering, steel bending, shoe making, catering and baking.
They were also provided with soft skills training in standards of business and entrepreneurship practices such as bookkeeping, marketing or sales, branding, customer relations, attitude to work and safety at work.
The graduates were handed sets of tools relevant to their work to set them up for their entrepreneurial journeys.
These are industrial sewing machines, dryers, local ovens, tile cutting machines, aluminium sawing machines, diagnostic machines, and gas stoves.
Dr Dominic Eduah, the Executive Director, GNPC Foundation, said the training would enhance the employability of the artisans and empower them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
The gesture was the Foundation’s contribution to supporting and building the capacity of Ghana’s youth to ensure that as many of them as possible became economically independent to support themselves, their families, communities and be useful to Ghana as a whole, he said.
On education and training, he said the Foundation had since 2018, granted scholarships to more than 7,500 to people including 1,700 in 2023.
Of the total, more than 340 students had been given scholarships for studies in some specialised academic areas.
Among them are about 200 medical students in their final year in Cuba, who would soon return to work in some deprived districts in Ghana.
Dr Eduah said the Foundation had also commissioned several schools to help in the delivery of technical and vocational education and to ensure that Ghanaians, no matter their geographical location, benefited from the oil money.
Education, he noted, remained an important platform towards national development, hence the Foundation’s investment in the sector to make it accessible to every Ghanaian child.
Dr Eduah urged the authorities to ensure that the structures were put to good use and encouraged parents to enrol their children in school.
Mr Freddie Blay, the Chairman of the GNPC Board, re-echoed the Commission’s mandate, including the promotion of exploration, orderly and planned development of Ghana’s petroleum resources.
The GNPC was also responsible for ensuring that Ghanaians obtained the greatest possible benefits from the development of the country’s petroleum resources, he said.
Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, the Central Regional Minister, advised the beneficiaries to put their skills to good use to benefit themselves and society