From Local to Global. First ever skills competition earns Ghana international recognition

Cooperation with the European Union has influenced skills development in Ghana in the last half decade.

Ghana is the 81st member state to join the World Skills International movement. This means international recognition for Ghana, regarding her contribution to skills development, particularly for the economically active population – the youth. Over 50 per cent of Ghana’s population is under the age of 30 (USAID Ghana CDC Strategy, 2013-2019).

The development of employable skills for them is thus crucial for socio-economic development and to prevent a destabilizing unemployment rate. Currently, this has become a national priority in Ghana’s economic development trajectory.

Ghana’s membership to the World Skills International is the result of the first ever national skills competition in Ghana in 2018, which sought to improve the image of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) landscape in Ghana. The competition was organized by the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training with support from the Ghana Skills Development Initiative (GSDI) III. GSDI III is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); it is co-funded by the European Union under its Ghana Employment and Social Protection Programme, and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs under its Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Program. GSDI III is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft  für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Over two hundred candidates participated in the first ever National Skills Competition; they demonstrated their skills in one of the following six skills categories: Information Technology, Construction and Building Technology, Fashion and Creative Arts, Social and Personal Service, Transport and Logistics as well as Manufacturing and Engineering Technology. Six individuals emerged winners of the competition. GSDI III supported them to participate in the WorldSkills Africa competitions in Kigali, Rwanda where they won one gold and five silver medals in various trade areas.

Becoming a member of World Skills International, afforded Ghana the opportunity to send a delegation of experts and competitors to the World Skills International Competition in Kazan, Russia, in 2019.

It was an opportunity for the delegation to learn from experiences from across the world regarding the use of innovative technical and vocational skills and tools for economic gains in response to changing global needs.

Ghana Skills Development Initiative (GSDI) III

Attaining this international recognition and feat has contributed to efforts by the Government of Ghana to effectively revolutionise technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Ghana; it has also helped to put in place better standards and mentoring systems, drawn from well-resourced nations and organisations that also belong to the World Skills International family.

The shortage of relevant employable skills at all levels of sectors within the Ghanaian economy is a major barrier to the achievement of sustainable economic development and industrialization that the country strives to achieve. The shortage can largely be attributed to poor quality graduates or apprentices coming out of training institutions (formal and informal) into Ghanaian industry. This phenomenon is also attributable to the lack of skilled man-power resources and adequate infrastructure to deliver skills development training in these institutions.

As a result, the quality of manpower produced by this system is deprived and does not meet the needs of the labour market.

The Ghana Skills Development Initiative III has been partnering the Government of Ghana, through the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) to revolutionise TVET in the country. Ghana’s participation in the World Skills competitions was in line with this support.

WorldSkills International (WSI) is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to promote the image of skills and skilled careers through competitions and exchanges for youths.

Membership is open to agencies or bodies which have a responsibility for promoting vocational education and training in their respective countries/regions.

WorldSkills International (WSI) promotes the benefits of and need for skilled professionals through grassroots community projects, skill competitions, and knowledge exchange through international cooperation and development between industry, government, organizations, and institutions.



Author: Patricia Mensah
Publishing date: 13 February 2023