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World University Service of Canada (WUSC), a Canadian non-profit organization, has launched a five-year project to promote sustainable pathways to economically empower some 5,000 urban poor young women in Ghana.

The project-Innovation in Non-Traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training-(INVEST) is being funded with a grant of CAD$8.5 million from Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Government Department that manages that country’s diplomatic, consular relations, international development and humanitarian assistance.

INVEST, which will run till 2025, seeks to empower women with sustainable skills, reduce gender-specific barriers and increase the contribution of women to achieve economic growth in Ghana.

The programme would be organised in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, and Accra.

“WUSC is excited about the opportunity that INVEST provides, to strengthen and connect TVET system actors on both the supply and demand side of the labour market,” Mr Appiah Boakye, INVEST Project Director said in a statement issued in Accra Monday.

The statement said the project would strengthen existing apprenticeship programmes and expand opportunities for young girls to access formal and informal apprenticeship training through state institutions and the private sector.

The programme is intended to entice the private sector to support young women’s entry into the sector, and build the business acumen of female graduates and entrepreneurs.

It (INVEST) would also reach out to, and sensitize the community, industry, institutional and national levels on the inclusivity of women within male-dominated trade areas.

The Statement said WUSC, through the INVEST initiative, would utilize an inclusive market system approach to strengthen the capacity of a diverse array of TVET stakeholders to support women trainees, graduates, artisans and entrepreneurs in male-dominated trades.

WUSC said it would leverage on partner expertise, working alongside ABANTU for Development, National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, Ghana Chamber of Construction and Industry and Women in Law and Development.

Self-Search Ghana, Commission for TVET, Farm Radio International, Lyme Haus Solutions and National Vocational Training Institute, to improve the functionality of system actors within the TVET system to deliver market-relevant and gender-sensitive training and support services to young women.

It said it planned to focus on two primary employment pathways: formal wage employment and entrepreneurship, explaining that establishing a business case for employers in the industry to hire, retain and promote women in the workforce, would enable women to secure better opportunities and create an empowered life for them.

“The plan to strategically partner with the private sector will accelerate the achievement and bring systemic impact to INVEST female employment and entrepreneurship agenda since the private sector has innovation, expertise, resources, extensive networks and capabilities which they can bring through entrepreneurship and market-based solutions that have the potential for achieving scale and sustainability in tackling systemic gender-based challenges in the non-traditional TVET sector,” the statement said.

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