Young female teenagers defy community viewpoint to pursue Welding and Fabrication course at the Akyem Vocational & Technical Institute at Akyem Amanfrom in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region.
Janet Akua Serwaa Setugah and Esther Acheampong are among 160 students of the pioneer batch confident of acquiring practical technical skills in a male dominated area.
A total of 256 students of boys and girls are acquiring technical and vocational skills at the Institute.
They are poised to become entrepreneurs and contribute to the growing demand of a technical workforce, a goal away from peasant farming and small-scale mining populace.
The two are part of the first batch of young females in the school.
It’s a normal day at the workshop, dressed in their overall and protective equipment, they held machines with vigour to the admiration of bystanders.
It will take some time for them to be conversant with the machines and tools but they are not bothered. A psychological battle has already been won.
Their first victory was against demystifying perception of some members in their community who felt their choice of course was solely a male zone.
“I do welding and fabrication here,” said Janet Akua Serwaa Setuga.
“Out there in my community, they get surprised I am studying such courses here. To me, venturing into a male dominated area will give me plenty opportunity. Most importantly, I can become an entrepreneur. I do little things out there from my skills to get paid already,” she added with beaming smiles.
Esther Acheampong encouraged young girls to brave the odds and pursue welding and fabrication.
“When I heard of the school, I decided to come. Many people in my community didn’t like the idea but I was convinced my future depended on it. A lot of the boys are here, I am here too. I encourage my little ones to come.”
The Akyem Vocational Technical Institute was built by the NaDef to give technical skills to youth in the Birim North Community.
Community Development Manager and Executive Secretary of the NaDef, Paul Apenu, explained the target is to enroll 35 percent females in the male dominated course by next year.
He added the aim was to ensure that technical skills are provided to the youth in host communities in mining areas to empower them to start business on their own.
“As you know, TVET education is very critical to economic development in our country. Because of that, a lot if focus is on it. It gives people practical skills to use hands to work and make some meaningful income for themselves.”
In collaboration with GIZ, NaDef has tooled the workshop.
An 18-unit classroom, additional workshop, hostels and ancillary facilities would be added soon.
By Yvonne Neequaye|3news.com|Ghana