Afoako ICCES (Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills) is an educational facility in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
The Afoako ICCES (Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills) is the only Technical and Vocational Training Centre in the Amansie Central District, Ghana. Its mission is to provide the youth of its local community (between the ages of 13 – 30) with quality technical and vocational training in Carpentry, Masonry, Dressmaking & Textiles, Electrical Installation, Computer studies and other core subject like English, Mathematics, Science, Agriculture and Entrepreneurial skills. The centre trains students for examinations in the internationally recognised National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) courses.
The ICCES program was initiated by UNICEF in LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries)and has since been taken on by the Ghanaian government to set up centres in small isolated villages in so that those without access to secondary education would be able to become more employable or even become capable of being self-employed and empower themselves to escape the poverty trap.
The centre now has over 50 regular students and 5 permanent teachers (employed and paid by Afoako ICCES) with three dedicated classrooms. The centre has recently had electricity connected after a three year struggle. The centre has the lowest fees in the area (GH¢ 9.50 (£4) per term / GH¢ 27.50 (£12) per year, compared to the costs of around GH¢ 500 a year for a place at a governmental Senior High School) and offers a scholarship to all first year students. The centre is performing well above expectation and has produced the 2nd and 4th best results of all the centres in the Ashanti region in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Afoako ICCES receives significantly less funding than Government Senior High Schools but yet despite this the Afoako ICCES has managed to achieve things such as connecting the centre with electricity when the Junior and Primary schools in Afoako have not been able to despite their significantly higher budgets. In order to fund the various projects at Afoako ICCES, the centre strives for self sufficiency. One of the ways the centre aims to achieve this is to utilise the skills of the students. The centre is currently in the process of constructing its first hostel to allow more students to attendThe construction work is largely done by masonry students so has very low costs whilst giving the students the perfect practical experience, when there is no work to be done at the centre the students can apply their trade helping to repair many buildings in the local communities, furthering the sustainability ideals of Afoako ICCES. . Currently there are two hostels operating which are rented from the local community, a boy’s hostel containing fifteen pupils and a girl’s hostel with twenty-one students. Electrical students also aid the Afoako ICCES by carrying out repairs for the centre and communities in the catchment area.
There are plans for an ICT laboratory, the centre currently owns four computers and has an arrangement with Computer Aid Worldwide whereby they can ship computers to Ghana for £37. After the recent electricity connection needs only for locks and defence plates to be attached to make a classroom secure before the computer laboratory can begin its first lessons. There is also an ambition to open a kitchen to produce lunch not only for the students but the local community as well.
The centre intends to open a carpentry workshop which produces chairs, beds, writing desks and other items for our centre and also to be sold to the public to fund other projects. Similarly plans for a production unit for dressmaking and textiles which in addition to producing uniforms for our students the department will produce batik and tie and dye clothing for sale to the public, whilst the students perfect their skills.