Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLG&RD) has advised trainees of the Ulternative Livelihood Programme (ULP) to focus on their training in order to prepare themselves for the job market.
She also urged the trainers to continue giving their best to the beneficiaries to support the government effort of putting a stop to the illegal and small-scale mining, known as Galamsey.
Hajia Mahama gave the advised when she visited trainees of the ULP to monitor their situation and ascertain first-hand information on their training at the Suhum Vocational Training and Kyebi Vocational and Technical Institute at Suhum and Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
She also donated gas cooking stoves, hair dryers and dressmaking machines which intend to support the trainees in their practical works during the training and after use when they passed out in July this year.
The ULP is an initiative under Office of the President and coordinated by the Community Development Agency of the MLG&RD which intends to give skill training to the youth who were in engage in galamsey.
The trainees are trained in hairdressing, dressmaking, fashion, Information Communication Technology, Catering, beads making, mason, electricals and auto electricals, automotive works, building and construction and plumbing.
She said over 5,000 beneficiaries were registered from the southern sector galamsey prone areas to be trained in the various fields of professions, adding that, “about 500 beneficiaries from the galamsey prone areas are currently benefiting from the programme in the southern sector so far”.
Hajia Mahama said government spends ghc650 a term on each beneficiary as cost of training, feeding and practical fee and ghc250 as pocket money.
This she said was to encourage them to be more focused and determined in learning and release any financial burden on them.
Mr Augustine Wayedi, the Principal of the Kyebi Vocational Technical Institute said, the programme was a life changer as many of the trainees were smartly learning to do their own things with the basic knowledge they have just acquired.
He said the beneficiary electrical trainees were on attachment with the Electricity Company of Ghana in Kyebi and thanked them for their support.
In an interview with the beneficiries, Ms Anita Effa, a hairdressing trainee from Akyem Aduasa in the Birim South District said, she was happy to be engaged in the programme as she would be self-employed after July this year.
She revealed that she used to make a daily amount of ghc30 to ghc70 at the galamsey site, but could make more than that if she has her own hair saloon working for herself, adding, “the galamsey site has been very dangerous for our lives and I will never return there with this skill.”
Mr Duah Felix, a building and construction trainee from Akye abuakwa said: “I chose to learn building and construction because I aspire to be a big contractor in future. I didn’t have the opportunity but now that I am on training, I will never go back to the galamsy site when am done with my training.”
Ms Ruth Aku Fumador, a caterer trainee from Senkubease in the Atiwa District of the Easter Region said, she has learnt a lot in her three months stay as trainee as she could make all kind of snack and local drinks which can fetch her money after her completion.