Zambia needs industry-ready graduates-AoU

Written by on August 15, 2019

BY DAVIS MULENGA                                                                      

IT is the core mandate of higher learning institutions to produce graduates who can hit the ground running and fuse into industry, says University of Africa (UoA) head of business and development studies Chungu Kabaso,

Mr Kabaso said the industry as well as the economy at large had loudly voiced the need for industry-ready graduates, and the design of a pathway programme by the university was a pragmatic response.

“The industry, and the economy at large, has spoken, and it wants skills that can respond to the needs of today and the future. It is our job as higher learning institutions to give them just that,” he said

Mr Kabaso said the pathway programme designed by UoA would see     under-graduates in various disciplines getting real work experience at every level of their study way beyond the traditional industry attachment.

It was expected that the intensified under-graduate industry exposure would increase their chances of being hired or carving a niche as entrepreneurs.

“The potential benefits of getting students industry-ready are well-established by multiple studies in different disciplines, indicating that this approach has huge potential to dent the high employment levels,

“It is for this reason that we designed the industry-ready pathway programme for our under-graduates. The overarching objective is to prepare them for specific industries through intense exposure as they work towards graduation,” he said

He said in the last few months UoA had compelling and tangible examples of the positive impact the programme has had on students who recently spent more time in the industry beyond the ordinary attachment programme.

He, however, cautioned the intensified industry exposure would not result into academic theory being downgraded but rather it was an attempt to blur between theory and practice aimed at improving the chances of employability and entrepreneurial ability among new graduates.

With the approach that had gained traction with industry players, UoA envisaged developing strong partnerships to not only give students more intimate and tangible experience in different fields but also benefitted companies.

According to the university, taking the concept beyond brick-and-mortar to technology platforms such as apps could represent a major shift not only in training but also in reducing the cost of research and development for industry players.

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