Precision quality – the missing link in job creation?

Precision quality – the missing link in job creation?


Ghana needs jobs. Africa needs jobs. Africa needs well-paying jobs in high numbers to satisfy the needs of the teeming youth as well as women, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Ghana needs same. However, despite the well-intention and well-crafted policies, programmes and activities of governments across the continent, these good intentions are proving elusive to attain. Governments wants their people to have jobs so that they can lead decent and fulfilling lives. The private sector is supposed to lead this charge. However, this is also not happening. Why is this so and are we missing something obvious and yet regularly ignored?

Precision Quality (PrecisionQuality™) is a term coined by the Design & Technology Institute (DTI) of Ghana to highlight the importance of precision and quality in job creation. It has multiple dimensions but has a key focus on precision in industry, services and processes to ensure that all goods, services and processes are of world-class quality.

Everyone acknowledges that quality goods and services would lead to increased productivity and the creation of quality products which, hopefully will meet market demands and create wealth. However, this ~assumption ignores a key fact – the mindset! PrecisionQuality™ acknowledges that the creation of wealth through the production of goods and services that are world-class starts from “attitudes, mindsets and work ethics” that are “deliberately imparted, consistently delivered and regularly measured for evaluation and improvement”. Utopian as this may sound, this is already happening with DTI leading the way with training programmes that have so far ensured 100% job entry for all students. PrecisionQuality™ does create high-quality jobs and DTI has evidence has been generated right here in Ghana for this.

Historically, educational and training programmes in Ghana and Africa were focused on the civil service as existed post-independence. There was little focus on soft-skills and the development of human resource to meet Ghana’s own agenda. One may even argue that post-independence Africa did not define any industrialisation and renaissance vision. If it did, it was not well-articulated, especially to the post-independence generation. Delivery of Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) activities was given less focus even though it had been the engine that has propelled all economies across the world. Africa did not learn from other civilisations. DTI saw this as the missing link in job and wealth creation and has started national and sub-regional initiatives and “boots on the ground activities” to make this happen.

Starting with conversations with young people to understand their needs and aspirations and thereafter subjecting their views to rigorous academic assessment and economic analysis, DTI developed three key innovative programmes in Precision Fabrication (for builders of all things); Digital Innovation (for ideation, design thinking and sustainable solutions) and Entrepreneurship. Enrolment in these programmes was given a boost when the Mastercard Foundation partnered with DTI under their Young Africa Works (YAW) strategy in which DTI is expected to generate 40,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2023. This sounds an ambitious target, but it is achievable purely because of the tried and tested models being deployed and which focuses on the complete ecosystem including players from the informal, middle-level and academic settings.

DTI is training master crafts person in Kokompe and Suame and exposing them to precision quality methods. DTI is supporting some Technical Universities with laboratories as well as PrecisionQuality training for lecturers and students alike. DTI is hiring a Professor-In-Residence to lead its PrecisionQuality™ Centre of Excellence that subjects all ideas and programmes to rigorous scientific analysis. DTI has trained several students in the core modules and to date, all these students have gone on straight to full employment.

These are initiatives from DTI, a private institute established in 2016 by a Ghanaian bespoke metal fabrication atelier. Its early successes have moved some learners away from extreme radicalisation to full employment. This will have multiplier effects in communities and create models. Ghanaian students on 3-month internships have created remarkable solutions in several industries including textiles and garments, like industry, sanitation, recycling, agriculture and engineering. They are proof that the Ghanaian youth can create products and create jobs, but they must be in an environment that nurtures their creativity and innovative drive. We at DTI believe that the narrative of jobs for Ghana and Africa is moving from rhetoric into a movement and that movement is staring us right in the face.

By Constance Elizabeth Swaniker

About the Author

Ms Constance Elizabeth Swaniker, a metal fabricator, is the CEO of Design & Technology Institute

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