The construction sector of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is working with its partners and consultants to develop a human capital development strategy and a mentorship scheme for the construction sector, Rockson Dogbegah, Chairman of the AGI, construction sector has said.
The move he said was expected to lead to the certification of construction workers and fill in the skills gaps.
This project is funded by the Star Ghana Foundation with support from UK aid, DANIDA, the EU and USAID.
A draft research and development report was presented by consultants in March 2019 at a stakeholders dialogue meeting in Accra.
Experts have acknowledged that much of the industry’s growth comes from opportunities in Ghana’s residential market, followed by non-residential demand for skills, which is driven by the expansion of commercial and retail shopping, heavy engineering (especially roadworks), and multi-storey and high-rise buildings.
This translates into strong demand for skills such as bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, roofing, steel-frame flooring, steep roofing, and architectural assistants at all levels.
Undoubtedly, demand for skills in the construction sector is high but the demand for such skills is not fully met, especially for artisans and trades people.
Similarly, employment in the Ghanaian construction industry is expected to grow at about 10–12 per cent annually according to the World Bank. At present, about 350,000 people are employed in the Ghanaian construction industry, and 70–80 per cent of these are in the informal sector.
Accounting for growth, employment in the sector is estimated to generate approximately US$400–500 million in the next 10 years.
This implies approximately 1,000,000 employment opportunities by 2020, of which approximately 250,000 would be skilled (artisans and tradesmen).
“Most Ghanaian construction workers, however, have low levels of education – often below Junior High School or its equivalent. The skills of workers, especially artisans are also limited. The informal apprenticeship system that churns out most of these tradesmen is not well-designed to deliver the quality of skills needed by the construction industry,” he said.
He said there was also no compulsion on firms and contractors to undertake continual development of their employees’ skills.
“Indeed, for some types of work, contractors have had to recruit from neighbouring Togo because local expertise is lacking. Where this is not possible, it has partly led to the poor performance on projects in areas such as cost, quality and productivity. This reality has negative ramifications for the quality of construction works,” he said.
He said, “Lack of a quality assurance mechanisms, reputation-based regulatory systems and certification has thus contributed to opportunistic behaviour among tradesmen to the detriment of clients.”
BY KINGSLEY ASARE