The Director for Business Support of National Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (NEIP), Mr Franklin Owusu Karikari, has challenged students to change their mindsets and begin to look at opportunities available to them in their areas of study, in order to make their education relevant to the changing trends of the current job market.
At an entrepreneurship awareness seminar for students of the Sunyani Technical University (STU), Mr Karikari said it was important for students to decide what they wanted to do in future and work towards the realisation of their dreams, instead of waiting till after school before demanding to be employed by the government.
The seminar was organised by the Business/ Entrepreneurship Development and External Funding Unit of the university, in collaboration with the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL).
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“For a lot of us, our entire lives on campus is to go for lectures, have a glance in our notes, watch soccer matches and when it is time for quizzes, memorise our notes, write your exam and pass, go home and come back for another semester,” he said.
“If this is your lifestyle, you are going to live a similar lifestyle after school,” Mr Karikari said, and asked the students to begin to look at opportunities available to them and start to develop solutions to problems to create employment for themselves.
“Don’t waste time to pursue courses that you are not interested in.
Some of you are pursuing courses that were chosen for you by your parents even though you are not interested in them.
After school, just go and present to them your certificates and begin to follow your interests,” he advised.
“I have a medical doctor friend who is now a photographer. He tells me ‘I have now found my dream’, and if you look at his studio, he is now making four times what he was earning as a medical doctor”.
He explained that apart from the fact that statistics were showing that there were no jobs, last year NEIP trained people operating in 7,000 business entities who applied to its outfit and out of that, more than 5,000 were supported.
Mr Karikari said graduates were not getting employment because of the wrong intention of beginning to look for ‘white-collar jobs’ after school, earn between GH¢2,500 and GH¢3,000 monthly as salaries and get a car within two years.
He explained that even though a lot of small and medium-scale enterprises wanted to hire the services of graduates, they were not able to do so because of the high expectations of the graduates.
In an address read on his behalf, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah, observed that for Ghana to assume a leadership position in industrial, manufacturing and service production in the 21st century, a considerable number of students graduating in Science, Engineering and Management Studies should choose entrepreneurship as their vocation to become supervisors and managers of their own enterprises.
He said with the increasing number of students showing interest and enthusiasm in venture creation, the university, with support from GOIL, had initiated the setting up of a Business and Entrepreneurship Development Centre.
The centre, according to Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah, would focus on guiding students to go into self-employment and create an employment culture instead of being job seekers, adding that: “This entrepreneurship hub will endeavour to become a catalyst in facilitating the emergence of competent first-generation entrepreneurs.”