It is my pleasure to be here today as we officially launch the 2021 National Skills Competition by organized by the WorldSkills Ghana Secretariat under the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET).
Permit me to begin on a personal note. I am a person who has always believed that the development of our country is inextricably linked to the skills development of our population. As a teacher myself, I have always understood that our future depends on the education of our children and more importantly skills development.
Ladies and Gentlemen, under the able leadership of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, this government set out to pursue the vision of a Ghana that is not dependent on aid termed ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ immediately we came to power in 2017. This culminated in the launch of the Ghana Beyond Aid charter in May 2019 with the aim of building a country where everyone has opportunities to develop to their fullest God-given potential; a Ghana where everyone has access to education, training, and productive employment. This vision is to ensure that we eradicate poverty and ensure that everyone has access to the necessities of life including good health care, water, sanitation, and decent housing in line
with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, it is also to ensure that we build a country that engages with other countries competitively through trade and investments and through political cooperation for enhanced regional and global peace and security.
As you may be aware, the Ministry of Education through CTVET has launched the MyTVET campaign to help change negative perceptions about TVET in Ghana. One of the key tools that the campaign has adopted is the skills competitions.
Ghana consequently joined WorldSkills International, the global movement for skills promotion in the world. WorldSkills organises the world championships of technical and vocational skills, and is held every two years in different parts of the world. The organisation, which also hosts conferences about TVET, describes itself as the global hub for skills. In addition, WorldSkills raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and show how important skills are in achieving economic growth.
The objectives of the National Skills Competition in Ghana include:
i. to change the negative perceptions of the youth and the general public towards TVET
ii. to raise awareness about opportunities that exist in skilled professions.
iii. to introduce the youth to a variety of skills trades.
The theme for this year’s skills competition is “Reimagining TVET as a Tool for Ghana Beyond Aid”. This theme is directly in sync with the objectives of the Ministry of Education which is why at the recent Education Week Celebration, the theme was Reimagining Education for National Development. Indeed, if our country is to be truly developed education and more importantly TVET is key.
TVET has a key role to play in fostering the resilience of young people. It is crucial for all stakeholders to ensure the continuity of skills development and to introduce training programmes to bridge skills gaps. Solutions need to be reimagined in a way that considers not only the realities of the present, but also the full range of possibilities for the future.
Today, the world has the largest youth cohort in history. Whether this translates into the largest development dividend or the largest development challenge in history will much depend on how this cohort of youth is educated and skilled for the changing world of work. This is also why the United Nations set the SDG 4.
Skills competitions measure excellence, celebrate Champions, and is aimed at encouraging the youth to turn their passions into a profession. With the ultimate aim being to help change negative perceptions about TVET and inspire confidence in skills acquisition, skills competitions are the foundation of economic progress in most developed countries and Ghana is hoping to replicate that.
For government’s industrialisation agenda to be achieved, we need a strong human resource base. It is through initiatives such as the Skills Competition that talents can be unearthed and nurtured to produce a highly skilled workforce that will improve innovation and productivity. The Skills Competition which debuted in 2018, saw a competitor from the various technical institutions and technical universities across the country converging at the Trade Fair Centre to compete for honours.
The winners in that competition went ahead to compete at the WorldSkills Africa Regional Competition in Kigali where our competitors won a gold medal in the cooking category, a silver medal in hairdressing and electrical wiring and a bronze medal in mechatronics.
Following our exploits at this event, we applied formally to be a member of the WorldSkills body and we were accepted in June 2019. I led a delegation to the WorldSkills Competition in Kazan (Russia) with a group of experts to abreast ourselves with how the WorldSkills competition is organized and to help us improve on the organization of our own local competition.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with this background that we are organizing the 2021 National Skills Competition. This will be followed by the WorldSkills Africa Competition in Namibia and then our champions will compete in Shanghai at the WorldSkills International Competition scheduled for October 2022.
Competitors will be expected to compete in the following skills;
• Brick laying
• Auto body repair
• Electrical Installation
• Automobile technology
• Mechanical Engineering CAD
• IT software Solutions for Business
• Graphic Design Technology
• Fashion Technology
• Beauty therapy
The Ministry of Education through the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) is working tirelessly to define and set the standards needed for the specific trade areas. I know how vital competition is, in raising and maintaining these standards. The Skills Competition, does not only allow TVET institutions and individuals to put their skills proficiency to the test against that of their peers, but also showcase the very best talents we have in the skilled sector. Since we live in a globally competitive world, perhaps, the greatest benefit therefore is that competitors are exposed to global best practices–to enable them build on their confidence and self-esteem.
It is my hope that we will better our achievements made in 2018 in Kigali. And I urge skilled young people in all corners of the country to participate in the Skills Competition, when the time comes for subsequent competitions to be organized.
May God bless us, and I wish all the competitors who will be competing in the National Skills this year the very best of luck and to those who will ultimately make it to Shanghai 2021 Go FOR GOLD!