Apprenticeships for youth: “I want to be a productive adult in the future”
One of the challenges of programmes designed to tackle child labour is covering children from fifteen years to seventeen years. These children, because they are at the age to be legally employed are usually not fully covered by the strategies which are more focused on protecting younger children. They are most at risk to engage in child labour because they are either school dropouts or are not able to further their education.
At ICI, through the apprenticeship programme, we are ensuring that children who are at risk of child labour are engaged in skills training where they will be safe from carrying out hazardous activities. With the support of industry partners such as Nestle, Touton, Ferrero, Mondelez and Cargill, 29 children made up of 15 girls and 14 boys have been enrolled in sewing, masonry, auto mechanics, tiling and fabrication.
The lives of these children have been changed forever because they have an opportunity to gain a skill. A skill that keeps them away from hazardous work and on the road to gaining the skills that will secure them a great future.
Augustina is one of the children who have been supported by ICI to enter into an apprentice training of their choice. Here is her testimony:
“My name is Brago Augustina, I am an 18 years old girl from Mehame in the Asante region of Ghana. I am the eldest of 7 children. I dropped out of school in my first year of Junior High because I had no interest in acquiring a formal education. I wanted to learn a trade but my parents were not in the financial position to enrol me in one.”
“My parents, therefore, took me to one woman in Bonsu, the next town after Mankraso. This woman was a hairdresser. She was supposed to train me in exchange for my services as a househelp. She treated me very badly. I was made to hawk wares all morning and had to go to the house to start the evening meal in the afternoon. She did not give me the opportunity to learn the trade from her. So I left her place and returned to my parents.”
“Upon my return, I had to be going to the farm with my parents because they still did not have the money to support my desire to learn a trade.”
“With the support of ICI, I enrolled to train as a hairdresser in 2017 in Mankraso, also in the Asanti region. I really like this new place because my Madam is very supportive and ready to train those who are willing to learn. She has made us aware of the benefits which can come from hairdressing. I now know how to braid styles like twists, cornroll and also fix weaves.”
“I want to be a productive adult so I am seriously learning this trade. I hope to be one of the skilled apprentices here. I will ensure to focus on the work so I can learn it well.”