Unemployed youth interested in working in the transport sector have been given a new lease of hope with the introduction of a new branch of the Ghana Youth Employment Development Agency (GYEDA), the Youth in Driving Programme.
Under the module, applicants will be enlisted, trained in driving, business management, and business ownership, and finally given vehicles to use as taxis in order that they can earn a decent living.
Programme Coordinator Ruben Adjei said the module is in furtherance of the government’s agenda of creating jobs and empowering the youth.
Time Link, a private company, is spearheading the Youth in Driving Programme in partnership with the government.
Mr. Adjei explained that the module is meant to achieve a number of objectives, most notably transmitting practical skills to workers, augmenting urban transportation and helping beneficiaries earn a decent living.
He said that competent personnel from the police service, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and the National Road Safety Commission will be training those selected for the programme.
The focus on safety is intended to ensure that graduates of the training programme drive responsibly to reduce the incidence of accidents and other road traffic offences, which can have dire consequences on the commuting public.
One of the objectives of the training, Mr. Adjei said, is to ensure that “our drivers are set apart and are viewed as model examples for other drivers to learn from.”
To qualify for selection as a beneficiary, he said, applicants must not only be able to read and write, but must also demonstrate an ability to learn and implement the skills they will be taught and a commitment and desire to engage with the programme’s business aspect. The ability to read and write is essential because “when you are on the road, you must be able to understand the language of the road, you must be to interact with the road,” he explained.
He stressed that as part of the training, beneficiaries will be instructed in defensive driving, interpreting road signs, spotting signs of potential car accidents and knowing how to avoid them, basic accounting and book keeping in addition to other business management tips.
In light of persistent complaints about the rude attitude of commercial drivers towards the general public, a crucial aspect of the training is to emphasise the importance of good customer service; errant drivers will be sanctioned if found to be abusive.
“The whole concept is about polishing the applicant, grooming him, making him unique, helping him to acquire some skills and then providing him with a job by giving the vehicle; it makes him more responsible,” he added.
Applicants who expect the programme to enable them to make money without working for it will be disappointed, he warned.
There will be an elaborate tracking, monitoring and evaluation system in place to ensure that the objectives of the programme are not defeated, the Coordinator maintained.
Dismissing suggestions that the programme was designed to benefit foot soldiers and loyalists of the governing National Democratic Congress, Mr. Adjei said that political considerations played no part in the selection of beneficiaries because “we are all Ghanaians.”
The selection process will be as transparent as possible, he promised, adding that transparency would remove any element of impropriety.
The Youth in Driving programme will be rolled out in the next couple of weeks.
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