A total of 50 men from the Niger Delta in Nigeria have graduated from the Biriwa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Institute in the Mfantsiman District of the Central Region.
They were awarded National Vocational Training Institute Proficiency II Certificate. The graduation is the second to be organized for people from the Niger Delta who went through nine months training in wielding and fabrication.
The training is Amnesty Training Programme (ATP) in collaboration with the governments of Ghana and Nigeria to offer vocational training to about 200 ex-militants of the Niger Delta uprising in Nigeria in five technical and vocational institutes in Ghana.
At a durbar on Tuesday held in their honour in Biriwa, Mr Samuel Kwashie Amegbor, Manager of the Institute, said the students were trained in manual metal ARC wielding processes, gas welding, metal inert gas, tungsten inert gas as well as numeracy, communication skills, entrepreneurship skills and ICT.
He told them they were lucky to have been offered the opportunity and urged them to go out and utilize the skills acquired to develop themselves, their families, communities and Nigeria as a whole.
The manager also asked them to go to the job market and make the institute and Ghana proud so as to open further opportunities for others, stressing that there were others on the streets in Nigeria and Ghana waiting to be given this golden opportunity.
Mr Amegbor thanked the Biriwa community, the Municipality and Central Region for accommodating the Nigerians and stressed that the Amnesty training programme had really helped the institute to establish a complete workshop, which was being used concurrently to train regular trainees in the area of welding and fabrication and that it had also economically boosted business within the community and Cape Coast environs.
He said the institute ensured holistic training to its students, which made them more marketable on the job market, adding that the stigma attached to vocational education that the course was limited to a specific section of individuals seemed to be dying out with the increasing demand for specialized skills.
The Manager said although the institute was successful it was still faced with a lot of challenges and appealed to all stakeholders to assist it to build an additional boys hostel to help enroll more students locally and internationally.
Mr Amegbor also asked for modern tools and equipment in most of the departments to enhance training, adding that with a trainee population of 1,500, the school had no official vehicle and appealed for a school bus to be used for field trips.
The Deputy Central Regional Minister Mr Aquainas Tawiah Quansah, asked the trained students to make maximum use of the skills they had acquired by setting up their own businesses back home and endeavour to market the institute by producing quality items.
He appealed to the management of the institute to consider giving a quota of about 50 admissions to apprentice mechanics and youth on the streets in the Municipality of which he would cater for their expenses and tools.
Mr Quansah also promised to assist the institute with GH˘5,000 to enable them purchase a school bus as well as assist the girls hostel with 14 ceiling fans and five brand new computers to the school. Mr Brizimor Dima, the course prefect, thanked the government of Ghana for the opportunity given them and gave the assurance that they would make good use of the skills they had acquired.
Mr Olantunji Otun, ATP coordinator, thanked the government of Ghana and Nigeria for the gesture, stressing that the training given to the students would go a long way to improve upon the bonds that existed between the two countries.
Nana Kwa Bonko V, chief of Biriwa asked the trained students to impart the knowledge they had acquired into others and endeavour to open their own shops.
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