Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Chief Executive Officer of Jospong Group of Companies has tasked tertiary institutions to make their curriculum more practical to enable graduates to fit into the job market.
He said it is imperative for students to re-orient themselves, change their attitudes and mindset and think of employing themselves rather than being employed. He noted that entrepreneurial orientation should not be the sole responsibility of schools and the government alone but the society as a whole.
Dr Agyepong said this in a speech read on his behalf at the second joint University of Cape Coast (UCC) Business School and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (BRSU) International Conference of Teaching for Development at the UCC campus on Friday.
The conference which was attended by students from the UCC Business School, BRSU, Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Trade and Industry and a cross section of the public was on the theme: “Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Economic Development in Africa.”
The conference, which forms part of a three- year joint project between the two universities is to among others equip the students with the necessary competencies towards entrepreneurship.
It also aimed at harnessing the innovative business ideas, which would be developed into business incubators to address graduate unemployment in the country. Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, in a speech read on his behalf traced the relationship between entrepreneurship and innovation saying “innovation is seen as the core action and a specific instrument of entrepreneurship”.
He said the new entrepreneur must be an active change agent, using innovation and creativity as tools to achieve sustainable enterprise. Dr Mrs Rosemond Boohene, a project group leader from UCC said the project focused on the promotion of strategic partnership and linkages between companies from Ghana and Germany to facilitate collaboration for viable business opportunities in a win-win-manner.
She said the partnership has resulted in exchange programmes for lecturers and students from both universities. Professor Jeugen Bode, Project Leader from BRSU said under the exchange programme, 17 students and lecturers from the UCC have visited Germany while two students from the UCC are doing their internship with a German company.
Nineteen students from BRSU are also undertaking a semester course in UCC. Prof Bode noted that about 250,000 Ghanaian students are trained annually to enter the job market but less than half of the number gets employed. He said most of the graduates that are produced from the local universities lack the requisite practical experience which makes it difficult for them to get jobs.
Mr Thomas Wimmer, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy, underscored the importance of entrepreneurship and the private sector in the growth and development of a country. He said Ghana is facing challenges of youth unemployment because it is the government alone that provides about 50 per cent of the job avenues.
Mr Stephen Antwi President of the Ghana-German Economic Association said for any business to thrive to the highest level there is the need for transparency, accountability and integrity. Osabarima Kwesi Atta II Omanhen of Oguaa said the conference should serve as an eye opener for the students. He tasked them to be more innovative to meet the demands of the global market.
Seven students from the UCC who won in a Business Plan Competition held by the business school were presented with certificates of merit and cash awards to start their businesses. The occasion was also used to inaugurate the UCC Business Incubator and a conference room.
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