WUSC, a leading Canadian non-profit organisation, has launched a five-year project, “Innovation in Non-Traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST)” for women in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, and Accra.

In April 2021, Global Affairs Canada awarded a CAD $8.5 million grant to WUSC to deliver the INVEST initiative to promote sustainable pathways and enhance the economic empowerment, well-being, and inclusive growth of 5,000 urban poor young women in Ghana.

INVEST Project Director, Appiah Boakye said, “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, to holistically address how community, industry and training providers can encourage and nurture women to take up lucrative skilled work that will lead to greater economic prosperity for young women and ultimately mother Ghana.”

The five-year collaborative initiative (2020-2025) seeks to specifically INVEST in women, institutions, and the labour markets of high-growth, male-dominated trades. The goal is to empower women with sustainable skills, reduce gender-specific barriers and increase the contribution of women to achieve economic growth in Ghana through a threefold multi-dimensional approach – strengthening existing apprenticeship programmes and expanding opportunities for young girls to access formal and informal apprenticeship programmes through institutions and the private sector; enticing private sector to support young women’s entry into the sector and building the business acumen of female graduates and entrepreneurs and; an outreach and sensitisation at the community, industry, institutional and national levels around the inclusivity of women within male-dominated trade areas.

Through the INVEST initiative, WUSC will utilise an inclusive market systems approach to strengthen the capacity of a diverse array of TVET stakeholders to support women trainees, graduates, artisans and entrepreneurs in male-dominated trades.

Leveraging on partner expertise, WUSC, working alongside ABANTU for Development, National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, Ghana Chamber of Construction and Industry, Women in Law and Development, Self Search Ghana, Commission for TVET, Farm Radio International, Lyme Haus Solutions and National Vocational Training Institute, will improve the functionality of system actors within the TVET system to deliver market-relevant and gender-sensitive training and support services to young women.

“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,” explains Nii Tackie-Otoo, INVEST Business Development Advisor.