Wednesday 25 July 2018

From Training to Learning and Earning

The opportunity to succeed

Young people in Golden Star’s host communities face the challenges of unemployment and skills shortages. 

To provide local young people with the opportunity to succeed, Golden Star launched the Golden Star Skills Training and Employable Program (GSSTEP) in 2009. Since that time Golden Star has sponsored over 600 young people in our host communities to obtain trade skills in masonry, carpentry, commercial cookery and other disciplines. All trainees also receive start-up tools to set up their own businesses to better prepare them to make a contribution to their community. 

GSSTEP trainees at Mampon Project Site

In a recent review of the program’s sustainability, an exciting opportunity for improvement was recognized. More of the trainees would succeed in converting their new skills into new business development if they had complementary ‘work experience’ to support the qualifications they had gained. Recognizing this opportunity, Golden Star designed a ‘post-GSSTEP’ on-the-job learning program called the Golden Star Learning and Earning Program (GSLEP). 
GSLEP is born!

The GSLEP pilot program was conducted earlier this year with the objective of empower young people to acquire basic market-oriented vocational livelihood and entrepreneurial skills, leading to successful employment in their community.

Under the GSLEP program, the young people transition from traineeship into a form of on-the-job instruction, earning a daily income to serve as motivational support and to assist with the transition into craftsmanship.

First project completed

The maiden group of GSLEP trainees have excelled and proven the value of the new, enhanced concept, having successfully constructed a first floor, 8 unit classroom block extension for the Prestea Senior High Technical School. 

Inspection of masonry work during on the job training inspection

The trainees (14 studying masonry, 7 carpentry and 2 commercial cookery) completed this tremendous effort in just five months, with the support of their supervisors and mentors.

Further proving the applicability of this concept and the need for these skills in the community, Golden Star was thrilled to receive expressions of interest from the host communities with ideas for other projects for the trainees. Even the Chief of Mbease Nsuta himself approached our company with keen interest in the project and future opportunities for the maiden GSLEP team.

Completed second story extension for the Prestea Secondary Technical School

Robert Gyamfi, Golden Star’s Community Manager, commented that the interest from the communities fits well with the company’s expected evolution of GSLEP:
“GSLEP is a staging ground to transition our GSSTEP participants from training, to learning, to earning. We will be working to develop a pathway for these young people to move into small business ownership and entrepreneurism, along the lines of how we have facilitated the development of LOCOMs (Local Contractors in Mining Services).”

So what has this opportunity meant to the GSLEP participants?

Maxwell Essel, Trainee

“I used to be involved in galamsey (artisanal mining), but when I heard Golden Star was looking for youth to train and considering the risks involved with the informal mining, I decided to join. The skills I have learnt with Golden Star will be useful for the future, whereas life as an informal miner is unpredictable and I could be left jobless at any time. It has really helped me and my future, I don’t think I would have been able to afford such training myself. Within nine months, I have been able to go through intensive theory and practical, including projects. I am very
grateful and I thank Golden Star for being a life changer and I look forward to a brighter future.”

Otis Gyatuah, GSR CRSR Department Civil Engineer

“When the trainees came to site, they had already gone through their theoretical and practical lessons for four months, so it was not difficult working with them. As the Golden Star site representative, I do not only supervise the trainees, I also educate them on safety and risk assessment because here at Golden Star, safety is our main value.”

John Quason, Trainee

“This new initiative has really helped us financially and has built up our confidence levels. With GSLEP we are challenged in practical ways by working on projects that are beneficial and can be used by the community like the Prestea Senior High Technical School building. Aside from the skills I have acquired, it has saved me a lot of money because if I was to learn these skills somewhere else, it would have cost me more than 1,500 Cedis plus my food and transportation. I thank Golden Star for this opportunity and I look forward to working in the future.”

Emmanuel Gyatuah, Trainee

“When I heard Golden Star was looking for young people to train, I decided to join because I knew it was an opportunity for me to improve myself. Initially, our training allowed us to acquire important skills. After our practical session we moved to the field to work on a project as paid trainees! With just 14 of us and the supervision of our site trainers, we have been able to build an eight unit classroom block. With this I believe I can build a three bedroom house if the opportunity comes. I thank Golden Star for equipping us and we promise to work hard with the skills acquired.”

Samuel Wilson, CRSR Department

“Both GSSTEP and the GSLEP bring with them personal and professional development and transformation. In our community, young people often seek unskilled and unsustainable jobs just because they offer immediate pay, but now we have the opportunity to find more skilled and sustainable work.”

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