Innovation in Non-traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST)

Advancing pathways to economic empowerment for urban poor young women in Ghana

Credit: Nina LaFlamme

Innovation in Non-traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST)

Advancing pathways to economic empowerment for urban poor young women in Ghana

The context

While investments in the Ghanaian labour market have increased over the last 10 years, 39 per cent of youth in Ghana are unemployed, and women do not benefit equally from Ghana’s economic growth. Few initiatives have specifically targeted skills training and decent work for women, despite their potential to create much-needed jobs for and reduce poverty among urban young women.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) includes skills training in construction, hairdressing, electricals, dressmaking, manufacturing and oil and gas among others. However, many of the TVET trades, like engineering, mechanics, tiling, and auto spraying, are overwhelmingly male-dominated in Ghana, and women face many gendered barriers in pursuing TVET, including workplace harassment, domestic and childcare responsibilities and a lack of encouragement from families and communities to pursue a career in trades and technologies. 

Our approach

The goal of the INVEST project is to enhance young women’s economic empowerment and well-being in Ghana, particularly in the major cities of Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. In addressing gendered barriers to education and employment opportunities, the project aims to change public and industry perceptions around social norms and challenge the negative stereotypes associated with women’s participation in trades and technologies. At the same time, it aims to encourage young women to choose non-traditional TVET to find fulfilling and profitable work to help them support themselves and their families. 

INVEST uses a number of communication channels including social media platforms, community announcements, TV and radio, religious gatherings and trade associations to target industry workers, unemployed young women, and their families and communities. While WUSC is leading the project, Farm Radio is coordinating the project’s interactive radio component, which includes in-depth discussions, documentaries, radio dramas, spots and jingles to tackle stereotypes and highlight opportunities for women. Farm Radio has also developed a Barza Wire series called Stars in the Field, which profiles women working in the TVET sector in Ghana to inspire listeners and start a conversation about traditional and non-traditional jobs for men and women in different communities. 

Our goals



Radio stations


Young women linked to apprenticeship and mentorship schemes through INVEST


People reached, including 75,000 women

Gender equality

INVEST is rooted in the transformation of gender roles, perceptions and attitudes and adopts a gender mainstreaming practice through all platforms and channels. For example, INVEST will work with local stakeholders to enhance and pilot specialized TVET skills training and academic sponsorship schemes for young women to cover tuition, child care, training equipment and other costs. The project will also strengthen the capacity of training providers  to offer quality skills training that is gender sensitive and relevant to the needs and interest of young women.

In terms of radio communication, women are actively involved in all stages of the project, from planning to execution to evaluation. Partner radio stations undergo a thorough gender equality training and each production team requires at least one woman, preferably in the role of host or co-host. 

in partnership with canada



Project snapshot

  • Duration: 5 years, 2020-2025
  • Budget: $400,000 CAD
  • Radio stations: 3
  • Languages: Twi, Akan

“I was walking to and from my apprenticeship in my working gear with pride. I never regretted my decision to become a auto sprayer.”

Vivian Ama Abeka,
Takoradi, automotive spray painter

Project goals

The project aims to reach a total of 150,000 people, with over 50 per cent of them women. In total, 5,000 women will be directly linked to apprenticeship opportunities or mentorship programs to help them access education and employment in the TVET sector.

The project also aims to achieve the following goals over its 5-year implementation:
Enhanced economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive economic growth for women in Ghana
Improved enabling environment and reduced gender-specific barriers for women's participation in economic growth
Improved public and industry attitudes towards women's economic participation in high-growth and non-traditional sectors