He said while employers are looking for people to fill certain positions in their companies, they are unable to find graduates with the skills sets they are looking for.
Speaking at 73rd Annual New Year School & Conference at the University of Ghana, the minister said there is the need for university training to be aligned with industry needs especially in the face of rising unemployment among the youth.
According to the minister, about 6.6 million young people would be ready for the job market in 2024 and that the public sector is already full so there is the need for graduates to be trained to be able to venture into entrepreneurship.
“85% of the unemployed youth have just left secondary school, what do we do with them, how do we give them vocational training to be able to become productive citizens? Over 50% of tertiary degrees enrollment occur in fields with limited or no future growth, how do we resolve that in the way we teach our graduates?” he said.
Mr. Ofori-Atta also urged universities to pay more attention to the changes in the global economy and to align the training they give students. He emphasized the need to take advantage of the growing digital economy and train more information technology savvy graduates.
“We have about 9 million people in a global economy that is driven by digitization, even though the jobs are in that direction we have less than a thousand graduates with IT related skills every year from our tertiary universities. What has put the universities to sleep without realizing this major shift in where the world is going?” he observed.
According to the Minister, there is also the need to address the situation where jobs are available but graduates are unable to take up the jobs because they do not have the skills.
“Employers are already feeling the pinch in the misalignment in our inadequacy of talent for their needs and therefore the drop in their looking for internships from our graduates. They report hard-to-fill positions despite high unemployment and we should be able to do something about that.”