The Chief Executive (CE) of the Forestry Commission (FC), Mr. John Allotey , has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on behalf of the Forestry Commission, with the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), represented by Prof. Elvis Asare Bediako.
The MoU seeks to provide students with a more practical approach to their studies in forestry and other aspects to ensure that the individuals churned out will be fully equipped with the technical know-how to assist the Commission and other agencies in the country in the execution of its duties.
According to Hon. Andy Osei Okrah, Director of the Forestry Commission Training Centre (FCTC), this assignment has been on the drawing board since 2019, and expressed appreciation to the Executive Director, Forest Services Division (FSD), Mr. Hugh Brown , for the immense support in seeing that the MoU sees the light of day.
Mrs. Anne Brown, Director HR, in delivering the welcome address indicated that the programme is the beginning of a robust training which aims at producing skilled individuals to assist in the execution of the mandate of FC. Adding that, it sets the tone to rekindle an already existing relationship between FC and UENR as the latter was formerly known as the Sunyani School of Forestry.
Professor Elvis Asare Bediako, Vice Chancellor, UENR, said he was grateful that the MoU was finally seeing fruition and for being part of its signing. He emphasised that the agreement was long overdue and hammered on the importance of partnership as being the key in every institution. He reechoed the fact that the University was carved out of FC and stated that the MoU is key to the development of the nation as public institutions are established to address issues of national development. He stated that the MoU will be a working one which will collaborate in providing a field of training for students.
Mr. John Allotey said that his team had been working assiduously for the implementation of the MoU as it greatly supports FC’s vital mandate of protecting the country’s resources. He added that the number of degree holders churned out are not field workers as such the number of field workers within the Commission are gradually going down.
He added that a Technical Team chaired by Professor William Oduro considered various options in filling out the huge labour gap in the Commission and concluded that there was the need to go back to the roots and look at UENR. He said that there is no certification for training in-house but this offers an opportunity for the trainees to receive the right certification.
The CE emphasised that the programme allows not only the Commission to benefit from quality assurance but also other ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture. He indicated that the Commission will make available expertise to help train students. Adding that, the programme is field-oriented and is to be conducted at the Forestry Commission Training Centre (FCTC) which has available facilities to train students. The training will encompass areas such as ecotourism and many other aspects. “The programme is for 16 months and will churn out the best candidates. Enrollment will begin next year and advertisement will be widely done”, he said. He concluded by expressing appreciation to UENR for agreeing to sign MoU.
Mr. Hugh Brown in giving his remarks said this programme commences the process of training core and frontline staff of the Commission looking at the core mandate of the Commission which aims to protect the natural resources of the country. The individuals churned out will be of high value to the Commission as they will be the key staff needed on the ground to execute FC’s core mandate and fill out the huge labour gap.
Also present at the meeting were the Executive Management Team of FC and Dr. Daniel Akoto, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources at UENR.