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Business News of Tuesday, 26 May 2020


B&FT Editorial: Practical lessons in bridging the industry/academia divide

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Field Ready Ltd. – a UK SME that collaborates with government and industry to run employability programmes that prepare young graduates with the skills – ran a Field Ready ventilator challenge which was a 4-week challenge to design simple, practical and scalable ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A team of three young engineers from Ghana – comprising Ms. Patience Nortey, Ms. Nelly Appertey and Mr. Ishmael Asare – emerged as design winners.

Sixteen teams of male and female engineers, students and alumni of Field Ready’s employability programmes in Mozambique and Ghana, took up the challenge to design a ventilator that balances engineering excellence with medical applicability and manufacturing practicality.

Indeed, this is a great boost to the country’s image as well as an opportunity for young Ghanaians to prove their mettle, and we say with pride that they really excelled.

This opportunity presents the country with a home-grown engineering device that will come in handy to help the country combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

A company spokesperson noted that the inspiration behind the challenge was not only from a desire to fulfil their objective of training local talent in the face of ‘stay at home restrictions’ being globally observed, but also to spotlight the remarkable potential of local talent if given the right support and guidance.

Apart from receiving prizes for their innovation, the final design will be presented to the Minister of Employment and Labour in Ghana and Minister of Science, Technology, as well as the Professional, Higher and Technical Education Ministry in Mozambique.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT Africa) has been supporting Field Ready Ltd. across the continent by mapping out priority and strategic markets to increase its footprint.

This only goes to show that given the opportunity, tools and training, African/Ghanaian youth can rub shoulders with their peers across the globe. This is an indication to leadership on the continent to invest in the future of our youth since they are tomorrow’s leaders.

It also goes to demonstrate that schemes like the one being rolled out by Field Ready Ltd. are among the best methods of bridging the divide between industry and academia, by providing practical lessons to job prospects and giving them a feel of the world of work so that they do not have to be re-trained by industry at a cost.