International Development Planning Review

Keeping hope alive: an analysis of training opportunities for Ghanaian youth in the emerging oil and gas industry

International Development Planning Review (2013), 35, (2), 119–134.

Abstract

Over the last decade-and-a-half, African youth have been the target of much scholarly attention. Faced with poor access to education and high levels of unemployment, many researchers have explored the ways in which they make sense of these dual realities. Relatively little attention has been paid to the ways in which the introduction of active labour market policies, specifically labour market targeted skills training, fundamentally reconfigures the lived experience of African youth. This paper seeks to fill that gap. It draws on interviews with both training officials and participants in a specific training programme, which has been set up to provide youth with oil-related skills training, so as to interrogate its place in terms of youth transitions to employment. In the tradition of Robert Merton (1968) and others, I argue that this training programme serves the latent function of keeping hope alive in a context where the prospects for decent jobs in the oil and gas industry are, at best, slim. While blighted hope - in the words of Bourdieu (1984) - gives these youth a reason for living, ultimately, the government needs to do more to ensure that citizens reap the benefits, as far as employment in the oil and gas industry is concerned.

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Author details

Darkwah, Akosua