The Chief Executive of indigenous construction firm Berock Ventures, Courage Dogbegah, says Ghana needs a policy to encourage internship for students to prepare them for the job market and self-employment.? He believes this could significantly contribute to reducing unemployment.

According to him, a policy that clearly lays out an internship programme — with significant incentives for corporate bodies that take on students for internship — will go a long way to tackle the issue of unemployment.

Human Resource experts argue that one of the reasons why Ghana?s unemployment remains significantly high is because there are a number of graduates from the various institutions that employers do not find employable.? But with practical experience in addition to the classroom work, Mr. Dogbegah thinks more students will leave school ready for the job market — or become self-employed.

?There are times we place vacancy advertisement but fail to get people to fill in the positions while there are loads of unemployed people out there; one way to reduce the rate will be to close this skills gap,? Mr. Dogbegah explained.

The CEO of Berock was commenting on how to address the issue of unemployment, particularly among graduates from technical and vocational institutions as well as those who study technical and engineering programmes at the tertiary schools.

Mr. Dogbegah said that Ghana needs to pay more attention to internship, thus enabling each student to have an opportunity for some practical experience before leaving school.

He concedes it will be daunting task, but added that with proper planning it is possible. ?When I say internship, it should be real experience and not getting the student to go sit in an office for a month and return to school with no properly coordinated practical experience; this will be difficult but doable.?

Berock Ventures is a major player in the construction industry and is undertaking construction of the first-ever National ICT Park project, and several other major projects.

The company has made internship an integral part of its policy as a way to give back to society and improve the human capital of the country. However, Mr. Dogbegah believes his company and many others could do a lot more if Ghana had a clear-cut policy on internship.

?We complain that our engineering students and others with technical training are only good at theory, but what practical experiences have we given them?? he asked.

Mr. Dogbegah argued that with the right exposure, students who leave school will become better assets to themselves and to the entire nation.? He therefore urged the Ghana Employers Association to lobby government to come out with a holistic policy on internship that seeks to address the issue unemployment.

He said Berock will continue taking on students for internship, but he hopes that the right environment will be created to encourage the company and others to take on more students as part of an internal human resource development policy.

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