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The Sheila Bartels engineering apprenticeship programme – A case study for locally-driven growth and development

As a keen advocate for the progress of the constituency, it excites me to witness the actioned mettle of our MP for Ablekuma North in sponsoring some young people to study metal fabrication and basic engineering. These young people who were otherwise unemployed, have a unique opportunity to blaze the trail and become the catalysts for many of the infrastructural and economic challenges facing our municipality.

The Engineering Programme

The Engineering programme as rolled out by the MP is in partnership with two organizations – ACC, a budding but renowned institute for Hands on training and McHammah Engineering Company Limited, a multiple award winning fabrication company in the municipality. It is designed to train the participants in how to mould and install infrastructural solutions such as bridges, poles and other signages, crash barriers, etc. The program which is sponsored by the MP is taking participants through a 6 months apprenticeship training program, after which they will be equipped with the requisite tools and exposed to opportunities through which they can leverage their acquired knowledge.

Benefits of the programme

With the benefits accruing from being able to source such infrastructural solutions locally and deploy them with residents, it is expected that the municipality can roll out some of these solutions in a timely and cost effective manner. Again, this should help drive the local economy as the municipality can then become the hub for transferring such skills and solutions to adjoining municipalities and beyond. It also goes without saying that the potential for jobs creation in this can’t be ignored.

Challenges of the programme

For now, the biggest challenge of the program remains the attractiveness of it to young people. Overtime, basic engineering and metal fabrication has been touted as a menial dirty job and this has impacted how the youth have perceived/approached this opportunity. Many young people seem to prefer white collared desk jobs without regard to the fact that some of these perceived dirty menial jobs actually pay 10 times more than most of the desk jobs. It is expected that the progress and life changing fortunes of the current participants should change some of these perceptions and allow for more young people to be enrolled under the program and thus keep them engaged productively. There is also a need for the office of the MP to look at incentivizing the program a bit more in order to make it more attractive for participants.

The future is bright with Sheila Bartels

Although ordinarily the work of a Member of Parliament is restricted by definition to legislative functions, the practical aspect of the role demands that office holders should invest considerable time and effort in addressing some of the challenges bedeviling those they represent. This is why the Ablekuma North MP, Hon. Sheila Bartels must be commended because, her approach thus far, signals her intention to support the municipality in tackling the lack of infrastructural amenities and youth unemployment head-on. I certainly wish her well in this endeavor and encourage other parliamentarians to consider charting the trail which has been blazed by Hon. Sheila Bartels.


Nii Angmortey


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