Industry, academia link requires investment – Enterprise Life boss

Executive Director of Enterprise Life, Jacqueline Benyi

The Executive Director of Enterprise Life, Jacqueline Benyi, has said industry will have to invest in academia if the link between the two is to yield mutually beneficial results.

“We acknowledge the fact that universities and companies have different business models; however, we are very much aware that some investment needs to be made to converge the two positions before the mutual benefits can be reaped,” she said during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between her company and Accra Technical University.

The MoU is to deepen collaboration between the company and university while offering students practical training opportunities at the insurance company, among others.

According to Jacqueline Benyi, due to rapid evolution of the business environment and vast transformation throughout the academic realm, the industry-academia subject is now even ‘hotter’ than it has always been.

“So, just imagine how rich the experience will be if the owners of the future can have both sides right from the very beginning when the foundation is being built,’ she said.

She said there is enough literature that suggests companies which do not have a close relationship with the academic community advance more slowly.

For instance, she said, these companies will miss out on early access to the latest research results and methodologies, as well as expend a lot of time and resources to access these learnings and even more time to put them into practice.

“By being out of touch with a university, its students and young professionals, companies become less attractive as prospective employers and often find it more challenging to recruit graduates and commit them for their first 2 to 3 professional years.

“It therefore seems much more effective for a company to collaborate with the academic world than not,” she added.

Tax rebate for industries that support academia

The acting Vice Chancellor of the Accra Technical University, Prof. Edmund Ameko, also appealed for government to give a tax rebate as a source of motivation to businesses that collaborate with academia to train students.

He believes that a strong collaboration between academia and industry will increase the employability skills of graduates, especially those from technical universities.

There have been several calls by stakeholders in the education sector for academia to link up with industry to train and churn out graduates who are required by industry and will be relevant on the job market.

This provoked a national stakeholder conference in 2014 that was organised by the sector ministry, Ministry of Education, to brainstorm on how the two could be strengthened to link up with each other to address the niggling unemployment situation.

Participants at the national conference called for a strong and structured collaboration among education and training institutions.

By: Benson Afful | thebftonline.com | Ghana