Leveraging technology to create inclusive and sustainable jobs.
The 2023 edition of the annual tech job fair was held at the Accra International Conference Centre, Wednesday 22nd February 2023. The fair drew over 2500 participants, with 1926 attending in person and others participating remotely via Zoom and Facebook to learn, seek internships and employment from employers/recruiters, and understand the future of work. Fifty (50) firms were allocated booths to exhibit in the foyer of the conference center. In total, 3994 persons registered to participate in the event.
The fair is a flagship recruiting event planned, produced, and manned by the Institute of ICT Professional Ghana (IIPGH) in collaboration with the AFOS Foundation, with the goal of closing the country’s unemployment gap. Last year, approximately 900 people attended the fair, and out of over 250 jobs offered, 70 people were successfully employed.
The full-day event, moderated by Ama Bawa, from the Cyber Security Authority, and Kafui Dey of GTV morning show host, had four sessions: the plenary session, an open fair exhibition, breakout sessions, and a business and networking cocktail session.
Beginning the first session with a welcome address, Professor Fred McBagonluri, Board Chair for the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) and President of Academic City University College, challenged the current generation to take advantage of volunteering and internship possibilities. He urged them to let go of the ambition to make quick money and instead seek out opportunities that would provide them with the necessary education and experience that would help them acquire their dream jobs and achieve their desired objective.
“You can always have your beautiful, desired career by walking into an organization and asking to volunteer. It is delightful to take these opportunities, and the next thing you know, you are employed. There are a lot of jobs out there, but they require the requite skills, and how do you gain these jobs without taking learning opportunities? As a tertiary student, this is the time to take up these opportunities to be job ready,” he said.
Executive Director for the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH), David Gowu, presenting on the overview of the institute noted that the fair is part of a larger objective by the institute to mobilize all ICT professionals, students, and businesses under one professional association/body to positively influence policy, development, standardization, and delivery of ICT across Ghana and beyond.
“At the Institute of ICT Professional Ghana, we are focused on educating society in diverse ways through our annual Tech Job Fair (TJF), annual Tech Entrepreneurs Forum (TEF), Advocacy—Women in Tech, Girls in ICT, Radio and Television ICT programs, and our Workshops, Seminars, Symposiums, and training for professional development in emerging technology areas such as Data Science, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Data Protection, Cloud Computing,” he mentioned.
Hannah Schlingmann, the project manager for the AFOS Foundation, emphasized the importance of better education and training for young people about new technologies and trends. She said, “We all need to stay current and updated in the tech industry because it is a dynamic field. Along with educational institutions, we provide training and work to connect them to business. We provide training that is very in line with the demands of the sector. As young people, we must be creative and seize the opportunities that are available because technology is everywhere.”
Presenting on the event theme “Leveraging technology to create inclusive and sustainable jobs”, Adwoa Fosua Owusu Ofori, the guest speaker for this year’s event, and the founder and executive director of Women’s Haven Africa said, getting a digital job may help high-potential, underprivileged youth escape poverty. She believes that the internet economy offers huge potential for formal employment creation for historically marginalized youth.
Speaking in turn as the special guest of honor, the Director General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Richard Okyere-Fosu, stressed the importance of ICT and its effect on society’s growth while urging all stakeholders to make an intentional effort to maximize and use ICT. He said, “as much as digitalization propels our development and offers opportunities to leapfrog most of the challenges we face as a developing country, it also comes with great risk if we do not manage the process well and put the right structures in place. One of the areas of concern is the caliber of human capital and the right numbers to support the digitalization agenda.”
He stated that the government is working to implement the Digital Economy Policy to provide direction for ICT sector players. One of the major pillars of the policy document is Skills Development. The objective of this pillar is to ensure that we can develop the right kind of skills to support our digital economy and emerging technologies. Achieving the objectives of the Skills Development Pillar of the Digital Economy Policy is a shared responsibility for all stakeholders in the ICT industry and even beyond. Industry, Academia, and Government alike need to collaborate more than ever before to produce the kind of skillset required to power our industries and support our digitalized economy, he added.
Other speakers present at the event were Mike Loose, International Management Advisor, AFOS Foundation; Dr. Jannie J. Zaaiman, Secretary General of TICONA; Dr. Ing. Ken Ashigbey, CEO, Ghana Chamber of Telecoms; Jemima Ashietey, Head of Marketing, Jobberman; Eyram Tawia, CEO, Leti Arts; Anthony Dzamefe, CEO, Caveman Watches, and many more. Visit http://bit.ly/TJF2023brochure to download the program brochure and further details.
The exhibition session started at 9 am through to 5 pm gave opportunities for 50 companies to not only increase their brand exposure but also presented an avenue for them to source the right human capital needed to add value. Participants engaged different companies at their various booths to enquire about their products and services, available opportunities, and how these opportunities can be explored.
During the third session, participants were divided into different mini halls to interact with specialists on four selected topics.
Partners including Jobberman Ghana, L’aine HR Services, and MTN Women in Tech took participants through CV Clinic, Interview sessions, and soft skills coaching workshops. GetINNOtized/GIBT and INNGN/4th-IR took another batch of participants through Training and Jobs Placement Workshop. Netherlands Trust Fund/International Trade Center (ITC) and Open Labs took another group of participants through Remote Work and Freelancing Opportunities. Leti Arts and Animax Animation Studios took the last batch of participants through Creative Arts and Game Development and Inclusivity.
These courses and topics were designed to provide participants with expert knowledge in these subjects and to train them on how to best capitalize on possibilities in these industries.
Business and networking cocktail session
The last session was a business and networking cocktail event hosted by the German Cooperation (GIZ) that encouraged participants to step outside of their comfort zones and engage in conversations over refreshments. A few opening statements were made before a panel discussion on connected subjects, such as GIZ’s relationship with the IT industry, began the session. The meeting came to an end with networking over drinks.
Participants said in-person interactions helped them gauge the atmospheres of companies and helped them build more direct connections. This session was reserved for representatives of the exhibiting companies and other invited guests to share industry training and development perspectives.
The Tech Job Fair aims to bring together companies looking for new talents, on the one hand, and job-seeking graduates on the other, to exhibit and fill up job openings through an innovative rapid recruitment process. Currently, there are over 300 job opportunities available on the TJF website. Visit www.techjobfairghana.com/listings to apply or share with your contacts—to promote graduate employability in Ghana.
Author: Kafui Amanfu, Director of Operations & Mabel Korkor Ocansey, Media Consultant, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana
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