Bridging the gap between universities & business

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According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Africa will be home to 50 per cent of the world’s illiterate population in the coming years, with business and wealth creation to be hardest hit by education and skills development challenges.

Oliver Rothschild, managing director and co-founder of Kenyan based Spire Education, however believes that the technical skills and ability to think that universities are teaching students are perfectly suited to the needs of business.

Bridging programmes therefore play a vital role in ensuring that university graduates are able to find sustainable employment.

“One of the fastest growing education segments in the United States are programmes like Spire, which is a bridging programme that helps people get that last set of technical skills and character traits needed to get jobs,” he said.  

“Our (Spire) one thing that we do very well is we teach students how to get jobs and that’s something different to the job of the university.”

Spire, the education to employment training model is designed to provide Kenyan companies with globally competitive staff.

“Within three months of coming out of graduation, 95 per cent of our students get jobs, and that’s the standard we hold ourselves to.

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Most of Spire’s students manage to get jobs at large companies such as Coca Cola, Equity Bank and KPMG.

“We ensure jobs that actually have a progression chance for these students are obtained,” he added.

Rothschild said that the next step is to incorporate the bridging training model into the curriculum of universities.

“We need to take what Spire does very well, helping students to get jobs, and build it into what universities do well, teaching students to think and attaining those hard technical skills.”