Goldfields Ghana Limited has voted $50,000 to sponsor a graduate training programme for the university graduates in its host communities.
The first batch of the graduates, numbering 47, would undergo a training programme for a period of two years, after which a new batch would be enrolled.
The programme is designed to build a talent pipeline for the company by enrolling university graduates who have completed national service on a two-year structured on the job training and development.
The programme also forms an integral part of host community’s skills development strategy, which aims at enhancing the quality of human capital in communities hosting the Tarkwa and Damang mines.
The Executive Vice President of Goldfields West Africa, Mr. Alfred Baku, who launched the programme, noted that it was common knowledge that graduate unemployment continued to be a major challenge for the country.
He said after four years of tertiary education and one year of national service, parents expected to see their children gainfully employed to ease the burden on the family.
However, this aspiration does not materialize, as graduates continued to struggle to find meaningful jobs. “This is why we are today excited as we launch the Goldfields Ghana Foundation Graduate Training Programme for university graduates in our host communities,” he said.
Mr. Baku expressed the hope that after successfully completing the programme, the young graduates would acquire the right skills and competencies to make them employable in their chosen professions.
The first batch of 47 graduates were enrolled in November 2018 and were currently acquiring knowledge and skills in departments such as Mining, Engineering, Metallurgy, Finance, Human Resource and Community Affairs.
A total of $50,000 has been set aside to support the programme over a two-year period, after which a new batch would be enrolled.
Continuing, Executive Vice President of Goldfields said the introduction of the Graduate Training Programme added to the many skills acquisition programmes that the mining company had implemented in the host communities over the years.
He mentioned, for instance, that in July this year, 50 young people from the host communities’ of the Tarkwa mine graduated after a four-month training programme on how to operate dump trucks, forklifts and excavators.
The young trainees, he said, were the third in batch of trainees for the mine-related apprenticeship programme.
He said the trainees were issued with drivers license E for heavy mining equipment, as well as operator’s license from the Mineral Commission to enable them to gain employment in the mining and extractive industries.
He said, so far, about 159 young people had participated in the mine-related apprenticeship programme, which was rolled out in Damang in 2012 and 2013 and in Tarkwa from 2016 to 2019.
“This is an impactful programme, which we intend to continue in the foreseeable future,” he said, and added that the mine had also introduced other traditional programmes in its host communities, where the youth acquired skills in hairdressing, dressmaking, welding, auto mechanics and auto electricals.
Turning his attention to the 47 graduate trainees, EVP Baku, however, made it clear that much as Goldfields desired to employ them after investing so much in preparing them for the job market, “we, unfortunately, don’t have the vacancies to absorb all of them after the programme. Where we have the vacancies that match their skills set, they would be our first priority of employment.”
For this reason, EVP Baku entreated the graduate trainees to see the training programme as an opportunity to equip them with job-relevant knowledge and skills for the job market, especially in the mining and the extractive industries.
The Chairman of the occasion who is also the Gyaasehene of the Apinto Divisional Stool, Nana Dr. Adarkwa Bediako III, appealed to the supervisors to give their best in training the graduates.
They should also not be intimidated and misconstrue the training programme to mean arming and equipping the trainees to come and take over their jobs.
A reason the supervisors may not give their best in offering best training programmes for the graduate trainees.