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Opinions of Sunday, 10 August 2014

Columnist: Blege, Alex

In the theatre with surgeons of entrepreneurship

“ …Stroke of my pen”: In the theatre with surgeons of entrepreneurship


A conference is good, it is better, if it is organised well and it is best if the speakers are adept in the topics they are called upon to speak on.
So was it with the conference that was held yesterday at the National Theatre by the Ghana National Service Secretariat. The theme for the conference was, “BUILDING ENTREPRENEURIAL AND EMPLOYABLE YOUTH FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT”: THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL SERVICE SCHEME AND STAKEHOLDERS.

The conference was scheduled in two sessions. The first session had speakers who gave the policy aspect of national service scheme, warts and all. It included the history of the scheme, amendment of certain aspects of the legal basis of the scheme.

The real conference began when after ten minutes break the participants were called in to discuss the key points in the theme: employability and entrepreneurship of the national service person. There is usually a question that service persons ask,” what is next after national service.
The speakers for the employability aspect was an array of men in the business world and academia. They included Professor Charles Ansah, the Dean of Pharmacy at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Austin Gamey, CEO of Gamey and Gamey Associates, Dr. Richmond Awotwi Abban, who represented the Minister for Employment and Labour and Mr. Kenneth Ashigbe, the Managing Director of the Graphic Group Company Limited.
As they spoke one after the other, there were common threads that ran through their speeches- attitude, internship and the link between what goes on in the lecture halls and at the workplace.
On the note of attitude, it brings to mind what I learnt on my matriculation day as a student journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. The chair person on that day was Mrs. Frances Ademola. And I remember her asking us to hold on to three key points as we move on in our professional lives. They are humility, curiosity and development of our skills.
She admonished that one has to be humble to admit the lack of knowledge of a particular field and to have that teachable spirit. We should also be curious to learn more and go the extra mile. Finally we should endeavour to develop whatever skill we have identified about ourselves. In fact, I dare say that a lot of the problems we have is as a result of our inability to uphold values and we go by whatever storm that blows us.
There is difference between theory and practice. In the lecture halls of our universities and polytechnics we hear theories and it takes an imaginative mind to transfer the knowledge acquired to solve very practical problem in our communities. One way of developing employable skills is to learn by doing and the only way to do this, is for industry and academia to partner each other in churning out a human resource who is up to the task globally.
I will also suggest that authorities of our tertiary institutions should also look out for opportunities of finding out the current trends in industry and inculcate them into the curriculum so that lecture notes will not remain what it was for a period of two years. Further, in my candid opinion after first year of the university or polytechnic education, students should not write examination but should be given research projects to find out problems in their various communities and suggest achievable solutions for the identified problem for the rest of their academic pursuit. That is what education is supposed to do – look for problems and solve them.
Then, it came to the turn of the entrepreneurs who really conducted a surgery on our imaginations with all the experience they have acquired over the years in establishing themselves. They included Dr. Jeff Bassey, Director of Graduate Training Institute, Mr. Godwin Martey , CEO of Websoft Solutions and Dr. Agyekum, Governor of KAMA Group of Companies.
Again, in all their deliveries, there was also the common denominator of identifying problems and solving those problems through hard work, selflessness, value for time, honesty and reliability and perseverance. All these in my analysis can be summed up in the acronym Dr. Agyekum said; ASK- attitude, skill and knowledge. Attitude forms 60 per cent, skill forms 25 per cent and knowledge forms 15 per cent of all that we do in the quest to achieve success as entrepreneurs.

So attitude is everything.

As they spoke, it reaffirmed what I have been standing for, never to leave the shores of Ghana to work in the white man’s land. I have a couple of friends who think that, their secret of success is in the United States of America.
In fact, Dr. Agyekum said that, Ghana is an acronym which reads, “GLORIOUS HOME ALL NATIONS ADMIRE. I am sure that whoever attended this conference had had a real surgery done on his or her imaginative, critical and problem solving mind. THIS IS FROM THE STROKE OF MY PEN….

ALEX BLEGE, kw.ameblege@hotmail.com/www.gudzetsekomla.blogspot.com