The joy that greeted the announcement ushering in the Nation Builders Corps, NABCO, one of the flagship programmes of the government three years ago has vanished with the information that October will be the last time trainees will receive stipends.
This has left the trainees who are yet to be absorbed by the institutions where they have been undergoing training for the period confused and unsure what the future holds for them. Parents on the other hand are worried because the programme took care of some of their financial burdens.
Although this laudable programme has created employment opportunities for the teeming youth who hitherto would have been moving from one office to another looking for non-existing jobs the challenges with the exit plan makes the future look bleak. There are a number of them who are yet to be absorbed by the institutions that have been training them for the past three years.
Recently, President Akufo-Addo urged all institutions to consider NABCO trainees first in their recruitment agenda which most of them have done but it is obvious that the quota given the institutions will not be enough to absorb all of them.
From the outset of the programme there was an indication that those who will be left will benefit from an entrepreneurship training to enable them to set up their own businesses which is ongoing but not all the trainees are benefiting.
This is because the backgrounds of some of the trainees do not fit into any of the entrepreneurship programmes. These categories of trainees have been left in a limbo since they do not know what to do next.
Some of them are of the view that they should be allowed to continue the programme until there is a vacancy to absorb them instead of them getting back onto the streets after the country has spent huge sums of money to train them. Their reason is that the government’s prudent handling of the exit plan of the intake of one of the NABCO trainees will either make it attractive or discourage unemployed graduates from applying to be part of the intake two.
Already people are agitated about the rate of unemployment in the country and if the trainees are left to join it will not augur well for the nation. It is common knowledge that the country as well as the whole world is going through a post COVID recession and this is affecting every sector of the economy but the managers are doing their best, making sure that everything moves on smoothly.
Based on this there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel and it is hoped that the government listening to all the sentiments of the trainees who are yet to be employed will find a lasting solution to the dilemma of these young ones.
One worrying situation in all these brouhaha about the exit plan of the trainees is that some of their stipends are in arrears between two and six months and they do not know when that will be paid to them. They are entertaining fears that the arrears will not be paid since the programme has ended.
The NABCO programme is a laudable one which the government cannot afford to downplay, in its handling of the exit plan of the pioneer group. With the current situation where trainees are given snippets of information from the NABCO Secretariat which most of them cannot comprehend is worrying.
One can understand the difficulty the Secretariat is going through, the fact that the entrepreneurship programme is ongoing but not all the yet to be employed trainees are benefiting. This is where a lot of brainstorming is needed to capture those who are not fit for any of the current entrepreneurship programmes to bring the intake one to a successful end.
By doing so, parents and applicants alike will be encouraged and this will continue to help solve the unemployment situation in the country. Also there will be a permanent solution to the exit plan so that the subsequent intakes will not entertain any fears at the end of the programme.
It is the hope of all Ghanaians that the confusion about the exit plan for the intake of one of the NABCO trainees will be resolved amicably for it to achieve the purpose for which it was established.
While urging trainees to stay calm as they await communication from the government, the NABCO Secretariat should be forthcoming with information to avoid people listening to rumours and misleading statements from unofficial sources.