It is my great pleasure to join you here today to open the first ever Zonal Skills Competition to be held in Ghana. The development of skills in the country is one of the areas the government is paying critical attention to. Whilst several factors influence Ghana’s industrialization effort, one significant factor that will contribute to the success of the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda is the development of a technical and vocational-skilled labour force. Skills Competitions such as the one we are opening today will go a long way to help bring out talent, grow entrepreneurial fervor, and get industry attention on what can be done in the country at the TVET level.
The theme for this year’s competitions is “Skills for Jobs and National Development”and theMinistry of Education intends to make the Skills Competitions a regular biennial affair, to alternate with the skills competitions held at the international level. Indeed, on the international scene, WorldSkills International (WSI) is the global hub for skills excellence and development. WorldSkills International “works through international corporation and development between industry, organizations, and institutions, to promote the benefits of and need for skills professionals through grass-roots community projects, skills competitions, and knowledge exchange.” The WSI organizes the international competitions every other year, with the next one to be held in 2019. The “Ghana Skills Competition,” as our own competitions will be called, will also be held on that basis but will be held in alternating years with the international competitions. This will enable Ghana to select the best to compete at the World Skills.
TVET has to contribute to sustainable development by empowering individuals, organizations, enterprises and communities, and fostering employment, decent work and lifelong learning so as to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and competitiveness, social equity and environmental sustainability, we want to institutionalize this in our education system.
The Ministry of Education, through the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), has planned the 2018 Zonal and National Skills Competitions to inspire world-class excellence in skills development and to introduce the youth to a variety of skilled careers. For the zonal competitions, the country is divided into two zones; the Northern Zone and the Southern Zone. The Northern Zone consists of Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions. The Southern Zone consists of Western, Central, Eastern, Volta and Greater Accra Regions. The Zonal competitions will be held from today through 21stof September, and the National Competitions will be held from 6th– 9thNovember.
Let me also take this opportunity to personally request the Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other industry institutions to invest into subsequent competitions and play a leading role towards the development of highly competitive skilled workforce to support economic growth and Government economic transformation agenda of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’
Our vision is to mainstream our technical and vocational schools to address our TVET skills need gaps for sustainable national development of our country. We want our industry players to partner us so that together we can develop a pool of quality technical and vocational skills to meet our one district one factory agenda for sustainable national development. I am hopeful that in subsequent competitions other trade areas would be added beyond the 13 trades.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to declare the Zonal Skills Competitions open. I look forward to healthy competitions that will be rewarding to both the contestants and the country.
I wish you a successful skills competition.
Thank you, and may God bless us all.