President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Tuesday, inducted 100,000 unemployed graduates into the Nation's Builders Corps (NABCO) to assist in Ghana's public sector, service delivery needs and address the dreary graduate unemployment that poses security threats to the nation.


NABCO’s central objective is to create employment avenues and opportunities for young graduates from accredited tertiary institutions and enhance the dignity and self-esteem of the country’s graduates as well as present them with added benefits of efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of some essential public services.


Speaking at the inaugural ceremony at the Independence Square in Accra, President Akufo-Addo explained that the establishment of NABCO had become imperative as the dreary story of youth unemployment had reached alarming limits and needed innovative ways to engage these young graduates into the productive sectors of the economy.


NABCO has 7 prioritized modules: Educate Ghana; Heal Ghana; Feed Ghana; Revenue Ghana; Digitise Ghana; Enterprise Ghana and Civic Ghana.


President Akufo-Addo said as it had become the norm with every bold initiative proposed by his administration, NABCO predictably, was not only ridiculed by "naysayers", but also met with pessimistic and sceptical comments to the extent of urging graduates not to register for the programme.     


"The one hundred thousand (100,000) young men and women, who are present, did not listen to the loud cries of the cynics and ‘Jeremiahs’. They rose up to the challenge, signed up for the programme, took part in the rigorous selection process and are passing out as Ghana’s first NABCO trainees," the President stated.


President Akufo-Addo said the security offered by this graduate employment scheme implied that graduates had sufficient time to make prudent choices on their future entry onto the labour market, on potential interests of starting businesses and entrepreneurship, or even on definitive clarity on further learning options, guided by experiences and the benefit of exposure to the world of work.


Additionally, he indicated that NABCO trainees would be engaged in a structured work and learning programme environment.


For every four weeks of work, one week will be dedicated to acquiring soft, future employability and work readiness skills. Within three years, NABCO trainees will have obtained 36 weeks of solid training and value addition to enable them transition smoothly into the world of permanent work.


The President said by this, "we would have also addressed the very issue that keeps our graduates out of the labour market in spite of their educational qualifications."


President Akufo-Addo indicated that managers of NABCO had struck up partnership with the Council for Technical, Vocational and Educational Training (COTVET) and some universities, both domestic and foreign for the validation of the content of the learning programmes.


This, the President said, would enable the trainees receive appropriate certification of their skills and training for their deployment to the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Information Services Department, Local Government Service, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.


"In NABCO, we have planted the seeds of the growth and future of our country. I am in no doubt, whatsoever, that NABCO will succeed. When the current trainees are about to exit the programme, present concerns over their future will appear moot. This is because trainees would be equipped and will thrive without recourse to NABCO planning their exit arrangements."


President Akufo-Addo said government had employed creativity in the design of an exit pathway focused on education.


For instance, the University College of Education, Winneba and University of Cape Coast are expected to provide academic support to train the many NABCO personnel with Diploma in Basic Education.


This, President Akufo-Addo explained, would provide the graduates with certificates and guarantee careers in the early childhood care and development sector.


He said the scheme has well-constructed and clearly defined exit routes – the country's public services and institutions, having benefited from the services of NABCO trainees over the three-year period will naturally, have opportunities that allow the retention of trainees, who have justified their value.


Another pathway, the President noted, is the building of an entrepreneurial base among the trainees – The Ministry of Business Development and the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Plan are involved with this exit pathway.


The goal is to have five hundred business leaders mentoring 500 NABCO trainees under the Enterprise Ghana module. A dedicated fund, amounting to the equivalent of their third-year allowances, is to be made available for them to start their co-operative ventures. An equivalent matching fund will be sourced from a private investor to complement the GH¢4.5 million fund.


President admonished the NABCO trainees to be dutiful and productive in the areas assigned them and urge them to demonstrate on a daily basis, "that you value knowledge as a basis for effective performance and productivity."


"You must show your professional credentials through timeliness and punctuality and above all, live beyond reproach so you can discharge your responsibilities with efficiency so that all, at the end of the day, can vouch for your integrity. Your performance will be monitored through an innovative mobile application, which will be deployed soon."


President Akufo-Addo urged the NABCO trainees to own it and make sure something meaningful and fulfilling happen for themselves and for their country.


He gave the assurance that government’s commitment to job creation was unrelenting, adding that, it would create the enabling economic environment for the private sector to thrive, which will drive investment both foreign and domestic and thereby help create jobs.


Placements will last for a period of three (3) years earning NABCO trainees a stipend of 700 Ghana cedis every month.


Beneficiaries will also receive continuous skills training and retraining on the job both to equip and guide their future career paths.


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)