The Africa Internship Academy (AIA), a successful youth employment accelerator in Ghana, has made a renewed push to empower the continent’s youth with 21st century skills as the organization moves to address Africa’s unemployment crisis.
To this end, the organization, which provides work readiness and entrepreneurship programs for secondary and higher education has received the support of the People Initiative Foundation, a Pan Africa Youth organization that promotes and supports Africa’s youth to achieve their goals in life.
According to the People Initiative Foundation, Africa holds a very high rate of youth unemployment. In Ghana, about 120,000 young people graduate from various institutions with about 10% getting employed after the first year of completion. Over 16% will never work in their lifetime, yet every year, thousands of job vacancies go unfilled. Employers have trouble finding people who are ‘ready for work.
“Youth unemployment in Ghana is basically not because there are no jobs in Ghana”, said Emmanuel Leslie Addae, co-founder of the Africa Internship.
“There is a mismatch between the jobs available in the country and the young people who are desperately searching for work. The gap is in creativity and innovation skills, poor social networks, limited resources to look for work, poor attitudes of graduates towards job opportunities, and unavailability of funding capital for entrepreneurship,” he added.
To make change happen, Addae and his co-founders decided to launch AIA in 2016, with a combination of work training, internships and mentorship. They decided to implement a program called Work Integrated Learning Program (WILP), a practical and effective way of providing relevant and progressive skills to young people.
To aid in its initiative, the Academy also launched a platform dubbed Talentsinafrica.
“We observed that training and equipping people with skills was very good, but we needed an additional platform that could connect these people with active recruiters across Africa. We realized we could utilize our numerous contacts we have over the years got. Since we have direct contacts with active entry talent recruiters across Africa, we decided that, after training people, we will give them the opportunity to sign on a platform that could connect them directly to these recruiters in Africa. This was how TalentsinAfrica.com came about,” Addae elaborated.
“We launched the platform in Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Senegal and Cote D’ivoire,” he continued.
The academy’s major plan this year is to set up an ‘Africa Youth Skills & Data Badge’ across the continent where young people will be required to undergo a particular training to get certification. AIA believes the initiative will bear fruit given the fact that skills have become the global currency of the 21st century.
“We believe that a workable solution in Ghana can easily work in other part of Africa since we share similar problems. It is our aim to have presence in every part of this continent, but we want to pilot it in these six countries first,” Addae concluded.