In my opinion, each stakeholder, whether as an employer, employee, government body, agency or ministry, private and public organizations, entrepreneur, business person or the youth, especially those unemployed, has a role to play in youth employment and its challenges.

My fi­rst encounter as a young person in employment began with the National Service Scheme, where I taught in a primary School, in Somanya. I braved it out successfully.

I subsequently opted for Secretarial School in Accra, after which I was on placement at a Ministry for three months.

Without the joint effort of placement from the Secretarial School I attended and the willingness of the Ministry I worked in to accept students such as myself, who had no prior practical exposure and experience of all that I had been taught and studied for, how could I have acquired any practical knowledge, “experience” and exposure in my ­eld of study? This is especially when all employers asked for a number of years of “experience” without which one cannot expect to secure a job!

After my placement was over at the Ministry, I went back to upgrading my secretarial skills and undertook a course in French at Alliance Française as I planned to become a bilingual secretary.

Whilst seeking for a placement opportunity, I had the chance to be a hostess for a week at an International Conference. This opportunity was an “eye opener” and great exposure for me. I was able to consolidate my organizational, language (French) and communication skills, as well as boost my con­dence level.

The Principal of my Secretarial School recommended me to a private law ­rm. No job opportunity, however short or seemingly unimportant, should be missed because of the perception of it. It is a chance to learn.

After my long break from work, I refreshed my skills and was ready to begin permanent work. This led me to a production plant in Tema as a Data Entry Clerk.

In as much as I was capable to do the job, my inexperience in the working world and the repetitive nature of my work, challenged me greatly. I decided however to stay through to the end of the project when my contract ended and returned to studies to upgrade my secretarial skills, after which I secured a secretarial position, in a public company where I had earlier applied to.

I had little experience and exposure in employment and realized that focusing on my secretarial skills alone and not much use of the French language was not enabling me achieve my dream of being a bilingual secretary. I therefore decided to study at the University. While studying for my fi­rst degree, I worked in several organizations
including a hospital, a university, industrial units, to mention a few. All these jobs strengthened my skills, enhanced my attitude, performance at work and exposed me to experiences and challenges I had not encountered before which positively contributed to making me confi­dent, proactive and assertive. I obtained a ­first degree in Human Resource Management abroad and returned to Ghana.

On my return to Ghana, in response to my job hunting, I undertook a test and secured a job of Operations Processing Officer in a Bank as a contract staff, where work was monotonous and rigid but I enjoyed my time there until my contract came to an end. I’m currently employed and have been given the opportunity to write this article.

And fi­nally, my question to you is, “how willing and ready are we to commit ourselves to meet the youth unemployment challenge in our own small way?

By Claudette Tettey

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