Academia, industry need deeper collaboration – McOttley Holdings CEO
Richard Dugan, Chief Executive Officer, of McOttley Holdings, has added his voice to the growing calls for deeper collaboration between academia and industry in order to adequately prepare students for the world of work.
“To nurture leaders to make a difference in the world of work, institutions of higher learning need to do more by engaging with industries and societies to ensure that their programmes do not only meet the needs of society but are industry-driven,” he said.
Speaking at the recent matriculation of freshmen and women of the Pentecost University College (PUC) in Accra, Mr. Dugan, an alumnus of the institute, noted that exposing the students to the job market through internships and industrial attachments must be an integral part of their programmes.
“This would engender entrepreneurial spirit and mentality among them. This is because it has been proven that entrepreneurship is the state of the mind and a way of life,” he added.
Mr. Dugan opined that transformational leadership is not always about the four years in the classroom and in an era of graduate unemployment, institutions of higher learning need to lay the necessary foundation for transformational leaders by equipping their products with entrepreneurial skills.
“This requires training of the mind of students to be creative, innovative and to have the ability to solve problems,” he added.
Speaking from a personal experience, he noted that through the efforts of the university, he benefitted immensely from the lessons and advice given by the seasoned entrepreneurs that were invited to the college assembly to inspire students and generate their interest in entrepreneurship.
He offered to help in inspiring the students with seminars and internships. “Some of us in the industry are willing to partner Pentecost University College in mentoring our young brothers and sisters in that regard to pursue their entrepreneurial ambition in order to bring it to fruition.”
Speaking on the theme “Higher Education in Africa: Developing Transformational Leaders to serve with Integrity and the Fear of God”, Mr. Dugan, who is also the president of McOttley Holdings, noted that what societies need in Africa, with its enormous resources, are men and women of integrity, high moral standards with the right aptitude to lift the countries from economic despondency.
“This is because Africa with its abundant natural and human resources continue to witness unprecedented levels of moral turpitude in leadership…this is the reason, the role of higher education institutions in Africa in developing transformational leaders cannot be overemphasized.”
He stressed that higher institutions in Africa play a key role in shaping the mind-sets and character of the leaders and lauded the involvement of faith-based universities such as Pentecost University College in higher education which are set-out to offer value-based education for future leaders.
“Faith-based universities are better positioned to ensure that their students exhibit the core values imbibed such as honesty, diligence, curiosity, innovation, creativity, friendliness and respect for diversity as PUC stands for.”
To him, this gives hope for the future that despite the perverse nature of the world, there would be leaders with character as agents of change in this generation and for posterity’s sake.
Mr. Dugan was named as the alumni of the year at the congregation that followed later in the day.