AGI CEO, Seth Twum-Akwaboah

Chief Executive of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is worried over the failure of many Ghanaian educational institutions to churn out investor-ready resources including human capital. 

Seth Twum-Akwaboah says bridging the long-existing gap between academia and industry would require re-strategizing by tertiary institutions to meet the demands of the industry.

He was speaking at an expert panel discussion on ‘The role of external stakeholders in the Development of employable skills’. 

The discussion formed part of the African Centre for Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS) International Summer School. 

The ACCESS project is a 3.7 million Euro Initiative of the University of Leipzig, Germany aimed at increasing employability among Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). 

It hopes to re-orient students’ thinking to integrate into fast-paced work environments and learn new ways of working and developing creative solutions to real problems.

The discussion saw panelists from varied sectors of the economy including government ministries and agencies, private sector, and academia. 

Chief Executive of Type Company, Coby Asmah underpinned the essence of acquiring soft skills to fit into the working world. 

He noted that “the world is moving towards globalisation and thus advised the students to learn the best practices, new technologies, and innovative ideas. Be intentional about acquiring specific skills, building constructive networks, getting mentors, and using social media profitably”.

He appreciated the relationship enjoyed with the University and promised to offer internship opportunities to students for a better industrial experience. 

“Through internships, students do not only learn in terms of their job expectations but also learn about other behavioural aspects. These include good oral communication with colleagues and seniors, being time conscious, learning how to serve, and executing real-time tasks,” he said.

Deputy Director-General of Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, Ahmed Jinapor, impressed upon the need for more stakeholder engagements between academia and industry. 

This, he says, would ensure the effective implementation of policies and initiative needed to churn out world-class graduates for the job market. 

CEO of Intermarket Group, Martin Yaw Asamoah, pointed out that “so far there has been immense reliance on the classroom methodology and a theory-heavy approach, however, the need is to make the entire learning approach more practical”.

The ACCESS project is promoted by the German Academic Exchange Service under the Exceed Initiative with funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The key objective of ACCESS is to provide the necessary linkages and platforms for graduate employability and skills enhancement through four main pillars. 

These are capacity building for employability promotion at HEIs, promotion of University Business Linkage, employability research in the African context, and the already established African German Entrepreneurship Academy.