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Tech Job Fair: An Opportunity to Connect the Youth to Decent Jobs

Unemployment is a Big Issue

It is now clear that unemployment is a national security issue and must be given the needed attention, just like any other security threat. The World Bank report released on 29th September 2020 titled “Youth Employment Programs in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation” identified key areas such as agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism, and sports that can create employment opportunities for the youth. The report also highlighted a growing trend of youth unemployment, at the time of the report which dates to September 2020, Ghana’s youth unemployment rate stood at 12%, and with those employed, the report classified over 50% in the category of underemployment. These figures, the World Bank noted, were both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries. Despite major investments by both government and private sector, this challenge will intensify if job opportunities remain limited. To tackle youth unemployment, the report stated the importance of having disaggregated data on youth job seekers by location, gender, skills, and capabilities to inform policy and funding decisions and respond to appropriate and tailored employment programs.

Stakeholders and development partners of Ghana are very concerned about the increasing trend of the high unemployment rate, particularly youth unemployment. To tackle this issue, the Government of Ghana (GoG) and several other organizations are making efforts to create employment opportunities for the teeming youth of Ghana. Lack of data on job availability and lack of a common platform to track the number of jobs being created and roles are, however, hampering this effort of reducing youth unemployment. To build a digital economy that will create decent and sustainable jobs, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) should be considered as an enabler to improve efficiency and growth. In the early 1990s, Ghana took an early step to become one of the first countries on the African continent to liberalize and deregulate its ICT sector. Investment by the private sector created competition and growth of the ICT industry, particularly the telecom sector. This rapid growth positively impacted socio-economic activities. The sector’s expansion influenced all aspects of the national economy and a lot of innovations have been developed. These innovative high-tech products and services, such as Mobile Money, attracted investments with its associated job opportunities. The ICT sector, especially the deployment of advanced telecommunication technologies such as 4G and smartphones, expanded internet connectivity and its associated applications such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a host of other social media platforms. Ghana with a high mobile phone penetration rate with a very youthful population is now set to develop faster, but unemployment is a big issue that needs to be addressed to ensure the gains made can be sustained.

Why Tech Job Fair?

The Ghanaian youth over the past two decades have been exposed to these new and exciting advanced technologies that complement life. However, most of the youths to benefit from the huge tech infrastructure are now just consumers or users of ICT and are not able to get employment from these advanced digital platforms. There are skills gaps that need to be addressed to enable young graduates to be part of the global workforce producing these technologies. To expose the young Ghanaian to some of these emerging technologies, an event such as the Tech Job Fair has been instituted.

Tech Job Fair (TJF) is an annual event that brings together industry players, educators, students, government, and job seekers to understand the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) job roles. The job fair is used to exhibit current ICT-related job openings in various industries and to help other stakeholders to understand the ICT skills needs of employers. This is part of the broader agenda to ensure an enabling environment is created for young people to access decent jobs, so they benefit from the digital transformation agenda of Ghana.

DigiCAP.gh Project is supporting its industry partner, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) to organize this year’s Tech Job Fair (TJF2022). IIPGH is a professional association of professionals, students, and businesses in the ICT industry in Ghana. The institute promotes ICT-related capacity-building programs with a strong focus on Digital Skills Development that prepares the youth to access technology jobs and to deploy ICT for innovation and entrepreneurship. The DigiCAP.gh project is supported by the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through Sequa gGmbH. AFOS Foundation is responsible for the implementation of this ICT Skills for Business Development Project “DigiCAP.gh”.

AFOS Foundation is a business-oriented value-based foundation for international development cooperation. Represented in four countries, since 2003 it promotes economic, social, and environmental development based on catholic social values. The ICT Skills for Business Development Project (DigiCAP.gh) supports skills development, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with international and local partners in Ghana to create quality skills and employment opportunities for underprivileged individuals. The Project is currently in its first phase, which runs from October 2020 until December 2023.

Date: Thursday, 24th February 2022

Time: 9am – 4pm

Venue: Accra International Conference Centre

REGISTRATION, EXHIBITION & ATTENDANCE IS FREE. Visit: https://techjobfairghana.com/

 

Objectives of the Tech Job Fair

TJF2022 is a One-Day job fair designed to attract 2,000 participants constituting: exhibitors, development partners, government officials, ICT professionals, job seekers, educators, students, and the public. Employment agencies will exhibit their available roles, while professionals from the industry will provide more insight into the job market. Topics to be discussed include emerging technologies and digital skills required to access jobs in domains such as Ecommerce, Cybersecurity, Digital Privacy, Software Development, Telecommunications, Data Protection, ICT Infrastructure, etc.

The Job Fair will also be used as a platform to promote local ICT businesses as 50 exhibitors are expected to showcase their products and services while hiring new employees to join their teams. Jobs and other vacancies from over 100 organizations will be displaced on wide screens for participants to select and discuss details with companies that posted the jobs. Livestreaming on social media will be available to online participants.

As part of the program, there will be seminars and workshops on CV preparation, entrepreneurship, business development, and emerging technologies that are in high demand.

To promote greater collaborations between industry and academia, the industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED) which is a quarterly symposium of the project, shall feature in the Tech Job Fair as an afternoon program. Industry players shall use the platform to discuss available jobs.

Conclusion    

The Tech Job Fair is expected to connect employers to prospective job seekers with the requisite skills set that will help grow their businesses. In addition, TJF2022 will be the platform that will help job seekers to understand the job market in terms of new skills in demand and how to prepare for opportunities in 2022 and beyond.

As this fair is being organized at Accra International Conference Centre, it offers a networking opportunity for participants, including businesses that will exhibit their products and services. Live online streaming and live radio broadcast options will also be available to participants who cannot make it to the venue. In the end, TJF2022 seeks to connect job seekers and employers successfully. It also seeks to use its online platform to continue engaging employers and job seekers after the fair for opportunities throughout the year till the next Tech Job Fair.

Organizations with job roles are encouraged to register to exhibit their jobs on the portal. 50 booths are available for companies that want to advertise job vacancies in their organizations. In addition, as the fair is targeting over 2,000 participants, businesses can also use the opportunity to advertise their products and services at the fair.

#TJF2022

#techjobfairghana

 

Author: David Gowu—(Executive Director, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)

For comments, contact david.gowu@iipgh.org or Mobile: +233242773762