The Ghana National Service Scheme (NSS) and Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) have launched an initiative that will see NSS provide personnel to tourism and hospitality operators as a support scheme to the industry.
The initiative, ‘NSS-GTA Tourism Support Programme’ will have NSS post national service personnel to various businesses and establishments in the tourism sector; both private and public, at no cost to these establishments as NSS will fully absorb payment of allowance to the personnel.
Tourism businesses have been badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic prompting a number of staff downsizing, pay cuts and in some cases closures. The financial burden to retain workers or hire new employees has been cutthroat.
At a ceremony at the Accra Tourist Information Centre on Monday, December 20, GTA CEO, Akwasi Agyeman said the collaboration with NSS is part of the ways government is helping the tourism industry get back on its feet and lessen the burden on operators.
‘This idea of the NSS-GTA Support Programme is coming from the NSS and the support is to say, hitherto, when national service personnel were posted to private operators, there is a component that you have to pay as a private operator. But as part of government’s support through the Ministry of Education and the National Service Scheme that component is going to be absorbed by the NSS.”
Beyond this, personnel posted to the various businesses would undergo training programme to acquire basic skills in tourism and hospitality.
The GTA Boss stated: “This should be seen as a sector skills programme so a component of training and orientation is part of this project to ensure that by the end of the day we are not just posting people to work in tourism and hospitality facilities, but they are going to impart through the training that they will be giving to get them interested in the tourism and hospitality sector such that out of this we will have a lot more of tourism entrepreneurs.”
Executive Director of NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi on his part said that after assessing the potentials the tourism industry has, government felt the need to help industry players who who continue to feel the crunch of COVID-19.
“So we at the National Service with the approval from our Board consider this very important professional support programme is very key. We need to go to all the agencies under GTA and support them; support them with our professionals.”
He urged personnel to give off their best while in service at their various posts to increase their chances of being retained.
HR Director at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Vitus Otto Langmagne speaking on behalf of the Minister said, the programme was a laudable one as it would bridge the human resource gap in the tourism sector.
“Due to the devastating effects of COVID, the industry players are unable to employ but this is the resource that has been made available through the collaboration of NSS. The Ministry has been well informed of the implementation plan and we are very confident that it will turn out very successful as planned,” he said.
The programme in the first year, 2021/2022 period will have 500 national service personnel deployed to several tourism and hospitality businesses and establishments.