Former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan has advocated for closer academia and industry partnerships to foster industrialisation, economic growth and enhance the employability of university graduates in Africa.
The former President noted that such collaborations would help universities and industries co-create educational programmes that align with today’s job market needs and help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
Dr Jonathan, who stated this in his message as the chancellor of Cavendish University Uganda (CUU) on Thursday at the 12th graduation ceremony of the institution, also charged the graduating students to leverage the knowledge, skills and competencies they have acquired at the university to champion positive change in their various countries.
The former President stated: “In today’s rapidly evolving world, the demands of the job market are continually changing. Employers seek graduates who possess not only a solid academic foundation but also the practical skills and industry-relevant experiences necessary to excel in their chosen fields. This is where the collaboration between academia and industry becomes paramount. “Through internships, cooperative education programmes, and collaborative research initiatives, students gain exposure to real-world challenges, develop a deeper understanding of industry dynamics, and enhance their employability. Today’s Commencement Speaker has clearly explained this, and I thank him for a job well done.”
The former President stated further: “The partnerships between Academia and Industry provide a platform for industry professionals to share their expertise, mentor students, and offer invaluable insights into the workings of the corporate world. By tapping into this vast reservoir of knowledge and experience, graduates are better equipped to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape and contribute meaningfully to their respective industries.
“Moreover, academia/industry partnerships also nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among our graduates. They serve as incubators of innovation, fostering an environment that encourages students to think creatively, take reasonable risks, and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. By facilitating access to resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, these partnerships provide a solid foundation for budding entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into successful ventures.
Dr Jonathan also stressed the need for the academia to actively engage with industry leaders, “stay abreast of emerging trends, and adapt their curricula to equip students with the skills that are in high demand. Simultaneously, industries should actively participate in shaping educational programmes, provide internships and apprenticeships, and support research and development initiatives as a sure way to get a productive workforce.”
He encouraged the graduands to avoid shortcuts and sharp practices, reminding them that “opportunities do not always favour those who have only the needed skills and competencies but more so those with integrity and character.”