In 1967, a tripartite National Manpower Board comprising representatives of the government, employers (Industry) and workers (Labour) was established in order to plan effective development and utilization of human resource in accordance with the expected socio-economic development of the country. After a comprehensive study of the country's manpower needs and the existing facilities for skill training, the Board requested for assistance from the United Nations development Programme Special Fund (UNDP/SF) in establishing a national vocational training programme. The first phase of the project which was of four years duration was approved in June 1968 with a total UNDP input of seven hundred and five thousand , four hundred dollars (705,400) and Ghana government counterpart contribution of three hundred and seventy-four thousand cedis (374,000). The UNDP input provided for 240 man-month of expertise in addition to equipment and fellowships.
The plan of operation was signed on 23rd October, 1968 and commencement of operations was authorized on 25th October, 1968, with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as the executing agency and the Ministry of Labour, Social Welfare and Co-operatives now Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment as the co-operating agency. An Act of Parliament 351 of 12th January 1970 was passed to legalize the establishment of the Institute.