In a small hair salon located in the center of Ankaase, Ghana, stylists and customers laugh and chatter amid hairdryers, wash basins and walls adorned with posters of various popular hairstyles. It is in this salon where Joyce works each day as an apprentice, learning the trade and moving closer to her dream of opening her own salon. But first, she must complete her apprenticeship, which will last two years.
Apprenticeships are the main type of skills training in Ghana, and are responsible for 80-90% of all skills training, compared to 5-10% for public training institutions. Apprenticeships are by far the most important institution for training and are undertaken primarily by those with junior high school or lower levels of education.
Ghana’s National Employment Policy states one of its chief employment challenges is “high unemployment and under-employment rates among vulnerable groups including youth, women and persons with disabilities." Poverty and lacking access to financial support restricts the poorest and most vulnerable young people from receiving training through apprenticeships. We try to address this issue by providing grants for at-risk single mothers in some of Ghana's poorest areas to enter apprenticeships. The entry fee and supplies for a hairstylist apprentice average $100, and for a seamstress apprentice the average is $150. That amount of money is out of reach for many single mothers in rural areas who lack education.
Joyce desperately wanted and needed an avenue for earning a sustainable income so she could support herself and her four-year-old son, Kwadwo. After receiving a grant in February 2013 that funded her entry fee and supplies, she began training under a master stylist at the Shalom Hair Salon. Joyce, along with two other seamstress apprentices in our program, Jennifer and Abigail, also also receive quarterly training in personal finance, business ethics, hygiene, and family planning. Each apprentice will complete her training with a certificate and the skills she needs to begin her own business.
We believe that investing in the dreams of under-resourced women entrepreneurs is a worthy investment. If you would like to provide grant funds for more women like Joyce to begin apprenticeships through our Income Generation program, click here.