A total of 43 persone, mainly youth drawn from the host communities of Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa mine, have passed out from a four-year community apprenticeship training programme at the weekend, sponsored by Gold Fields Ghana Foundation (GGF).
The beneficiaries were trained in Welding, Auto Mechanics, Spraying, Hairdressing and Dressmaking.
Out of the number, 26 were females and the remaining 17 males. Each of the beneficiaries falling under a category of the programme module was given starts-up tools for their training.
For instance, the hairdressers were given hairdryer, washing basins and trolleys, whilst the dressmakers were given industrial machines, industrial knitting machine, scissors and sets of measuring tapes amongst other items.
The purpose of the training programme was to equip the graduates with employable skills.
As the 43 beneficiaries passed out, another 30 batch, also drawn from the same host communities, have been inducted into the skill training programme in welding and fabrication, dressmaking, hairdressing, and auto mechanics amongst others.
Present at the graduation ceremony were Nana Abena Boaduwa, Apinto Queenmother, Benjamin Kesse, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Emma Morison, Regional Corporate Affairs Manager, Nana Kweku Ansah, Chief of Brahabobom, Florence Ansere Bio, Community Affairs Manager and a host of other queenmothers.
In a welcome address, Community Affairs Manager Florence Ansere Bio underlined the importance of the training programme, and appealed to the graduates to reciprocate the investment made in them for their training.
She explained that the Apprenticeship Programme was instituted in 2011 to give opportunity to the youth in the mining areas to learn some skills so they could become self-employed.
According to her, the beneficiaries were the third batch of the Training Programme, and were taken through business and entrepreneurial skills courses.
She pointed out that there was no way the mine could absorb all the youth in the communities to work there.
Therefore, “acquiring this skill, makes you an employer, and will go a long way to support you even when the mine is over.”
MCE Ben Kesse pointed out that the training programme showed the peaceful relationship that had existed between the host communities and the mining giant. He said Gold Fields had done a lot to achieve the peaceful co-existence, and this was evidence in the investment made in the training programme.
MCE Kesse, however, asked the graduates to reciprocate the gesture by also helping tin their bid to develop the communities by imparting the knowledge and skills they had acquired to others.
“A lot has been invested in you, and I urge you to apply the training in full the knowledge you have acquired to help our communities.”
Dr. Celestine Allotey, Vice President and Head of Sustainable Development, said before the apprenticeship programme started, community leaders and the trade association executives were engaged to solicit their views and support.
To ensure the effectiveness of the training programme, there was constant monitoring of apprentice activities throughout the period to the extent that apprentices were visited at their various workplaces to supervise their activities and assess their performance.
That apart, the Vice President and Head of Sustainability of God Fields said a four-day entrepreneurial training was also organised for the beneficiaries to equip them with entrepreneurship and business management knowledge to run their business successfully after graduation.
The expectations for the graduates and those in the welding and fabrication programme, she added, were high. “We expect you to be professional and live up to the standards of the profession you are in.”