Transnational Skills Partnerships between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia
This exploratory study discusses the potential for a transnational skills partnership in the construction sector between Ghana and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Ghana is considered to be a particularly suited partner country due to its young workforce, democratic and economic stability and high regard for technical and vocational education and training (TVET). This high regard, though, is not matched yet by a high level of formal training; in particular in the construction sector, informal “on the job training” training is the norm. Most workers are not employed in the public sector but operate as independent contractors and those with formal qualifications find it often hard to compete with them. Formal education is also criticised for being too theoretical and providing not enough hands-on experience.
Based on this assessment, this study recommends a type of partnership, where the TVET sector could benefit from further development in terms of standards, employability and balancing practical and theoretical aspects of formal education. This would be a significant addition to the established benefits of the triple-win approach where the destination would benefit from the supply of skilled labour while the country of origin and the migrants themselves would benefit from upskilling and remittances.
In this Type 2.5 approach, some fundamental skills (for example equivalent to a German Bauhelfer /construction assistant) would be taught in Ghana along with the German language, with the potential to access further specific training after migration to Germany. This approach could ease the entry into the programme and might help avoid drop-outs. Even if participants decide not to continue the programme in Germany, they would have acquired skills which would be useful in the Ghanaian context. This “Type 2.5” approach could be integrated very well into the curriculum of the Ghanaian National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI). German language training could be provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Goethe Institute.
Furthermore, existing (German) businesses in Ghana could provide opportunities to students to gather practical experience and potential in-country-employment at a later stage (i.e. instead of /after return migration). Additionally, the Ghanaian Business Association and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Ghana (AHK Ghana) are relevant stakeholders which could prove beneficial in implementing skill partnerships.