Tertiary student’s industrial internship commences next year

Minister for Business Development, Dr. Mohammed Awal

The Ministry of Business Development will facilitate the commencement of a key new scheme, effective from the start of the 2020/21 academic session under which 40,000 tertiary students will each year, undergo internship with major private sector enterprises in order to acquire practical skills and experience that will make them more attractive to potential employers by the time they graduate.

Minister for Business Development, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal revealed this yesterday during the presentation of awards by the Melcom Group to 60 lucky customers who won brand new Renault automobiles and motorcycles to commemorate the company’s 30th anniversary.

The new internship scheme is being introduced in response to complaints by industry in Ghana that tertiary institution graduates lack the requisite practical skills that would make them attractive enough to be employed straight after school. Indeed, fresh graduates complain that most employers refuse to offer them jobs on the grounds that they lack requisite practical experience. Thus while experienced graduates find it easy to switch jobs after just a couple of years of working, their unexperienced counterparts find it extremely difficult to get in a foot into the job market.

Dr Awal has asserted that only two percent of fresh tertiary graduates get job offers after graduation. While his ministry sees entrepreneurship as the best way out for fresh graduates, and indeed expends most of its efforts to  facilitate start up enterprises through them, it also asserts that practical job experience in industry is pivotal towards their success as entrepreneurs too. Thus the impending new internship scheme will aim at preparing fresh graduates for either professional careers as employees of private sector corporations, or for entrepreneurship as owners of start up enterprises.

The internship scheme will be open to tertiary students between levels 200 and 400. While the Ministry is making arrangements for private enterprise to initially absorb 40,000 of such students yearly at the start, Dr Awal expects the scheme to be scaled up to as many as 60,000 students annually within the shortest possible time.

Tertiary education in Ghana, like with most other African countries tends to focus on theory rather than practical skills and expertise and tertiary education also fails to provide soft skills requisite for fresh graduates to smoothly fit into corporate cultures. Expectedly, practical industrial attachments under the impending scheme will plug this gap and equip fresh graduates with the requisite skills to make them employable.

Instructively, most of the largest corporations in Ghana organize their own management trainee programmes for the fresh graduates they employ before putting them in positions of authority and responsibility. However, most enterprises lack the resources to apply this strategy and so opt for already experienced graduate employees.