Ghana’s Higher Education Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa (HEP-SSA) is partnering the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, for a group breaking project to bring academia and industry closer for skills utilisation in Africa.
The initiative, dubbed, ‘Manufacturing Hub for Closing the Skills Gap between Academia and Industry’, will realise local design and manufacture of prototypes.
It will emphasise the development of shared course material on agricultural machinery.
Vice-Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, is excited the project objectives are in line the university’s mission.
“The above goal and objectives align well with the vision and mission of KNUST which include providing an environment for teaching, research and entrepreneurship training in science and technology, and producing high calibre graduates with knowledge and expertise to support the industrial and socio-economic development of Ghana and beyond,” he said.
Professor Obiri-Danso said KNUST will collaborate with some technical universities in Ghana to develop and run Master of Technology programmes as well as publish research materials.
“It should be reasonable to expect that if well carried out, the project would lead to increased collaborative research and consequent joint publication among academic staff of the KNUST and those of technical universities involved,” he stated.'
The KNUST Vice-Chancellor also said a special focus will be on producing self-confident and entrepreneurial-minded students.
“With project outcomes, such as these, the least we can expect is the enhanced suitability of our academic programmes to industry, students gaining relevant work experience, with the industry having a pool of employable candidates to select from, thus spending less resources in training newly-hired employees,” he emphasised.
Country Project Coordinator, Prof. Samuel Sackey of KNUST Technology Consultancy Centre is hopeful of improvement in student capacity in design and manufacturing.
“At the end of the day, our students should be able to design well and manufacture well. In terms of taking engineering drawings and blueprints and generating real products out of that,” he said
The Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, will fund the project.
“Students in KNUST and other Ghanaian universities will be trained to develop new ways of manufacturing in Ghana, using some of the knowledge in the UK and for my point of view, taking some knowledge back to the UK about how manufacturing is done in a country like this,” said Prof. Rick Greenough is Professor of Energy Systems, De Montfort University, UK
Two PhD students will be supported to research and model solutions to commercialisation challenges of entrepreneurial engineers in agriculture.
Desert Lion International, SAYeTech Company, QueenTech Initiative and DENCO Foundry are industrial partners.