The Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative For Employment (YIEDIE) which is aimed at creating opportunities for the youth in Ghana’s construction industry has announced plans to create 23,700 jobs in five years time.

The project which is under the Global Communities Partners for Good targets cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ashaiman and Tema.

Speaking at the National Youth Construction Summit in Accra, the Project Director of YIEDIE Ghana, Kafui Vera Mills-Odoi stated that the project aims at training young people in new methods of construction using modern technology.

“YIEDIE will directly reach at least 23,700 youth with training in technical, life and entrepreneurship skills leading to employment,” she said adding that “the project applies an integrated, youth-led market-systems model to improve the capacity of youth and service providers across the value chain,” she said.

Madam Mills-Odoi explained that YIEDIE is a five-year project to create economic opportunities in Ghana’s construction sector for economically disadvantaged youth, implemented by Global Communities in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.

She stated that the programme will train young women and men in technical construction skills, helping them grow.

She pointed out that the programme will also increase collaboration and support amongst construction sector stakeholders to improve the enabling environment.

Citing some figures, Madam Mills-Odoi stated that since 2010, the construction sector’s contribution to GDP has seen a steady rise, from 8.5% to a projected 30.6% at the end of 2015.

She stated that the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) has estimated the creation of about 700,000 jobs by 2020.

According to the World Bank (2014), the number of the youth in the total population has increased from 1.1 million in 1960 to 4.6 million in 2010.

Madam Mills-Odoi stated that out of the number, the Bank estimates that 65% aged 15-24 years, including women, are unemployed.

“Indeed over the next 10 years, the African Development Bank  projects only one in four youth will find a wage job, 80% of which will be in the informal sector,” she said.

She added that with only 10% of 15-17 year olds in Ghana enrolled in secondary or technical education, apprenticeships account for 80-90% of all basic skills training in the country.

“With this trend unlikely to abate in the short to medium term, the challenge for most government and other stakeholders is not only to create jobs for the increasing youth population, but to increase the productivity of the workforce in the informal sector of the economy,” she said.

She stated that while several national policy documents, including the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II and National Youth Policy, have interventions to respond to this challenge, there has not been any deliberate attempt to take advantage of the potential of the construction industry to reduce youth unemployment.

“ It is against this background that the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE) consortium together with the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) are hosting  the National Youth and Construction summit to broaden engagements around youth employment and the construction industry in Ghana”.