The Founder of Ashesi University, Dr Patrick Awuah has urged education stakeholders including government to add soft skills into school learning curriculum that will prepare young people for the world of work.
Dr Awuah who commended the government for undertaking reforms in the education sector, indicated that these reforms in the sector should be accelerated to embrace new trends, technology and most importantly soft skills.
Speaking at an Absa Bank Ghana Ready to Work webinar session on the topic "Bridging the Soft Skills Gap between Academia and the World of Work", Dr Awuah said global changes in the use of technology and the nature of today's work have urgent implications for how young people are educated and prepared for the world of work.
According to Dr Awuah, the country's education curriculum should have some level of adoption of soft skills such as ethics and civic engagement, critical thinking, communication, leadership and technological competence to nurture young people for the job market.
"It is really important to remember that these soft skills are needed to impact students and prepare them for the world of work," Dr Awuah said.
Dr Awuah observed that there had been some level of progress in the educational system but there was more work to be done.
"We have an educational system that is heavily dependent on memorisation of information which continues to be a feature at all levels. But it is changing slowly and could be a little faster. There is change happening at the higher level of our education system. Universities are now talking to students about critical thinking and leadership which is a sign of good progress," he said.
In a presentation on how to bridge the skills gap between academia and world of work, Nana Essilfuah Tamakloe, Marketing and Corporate Relations Director at Absa Bank Ghana indicated that employers were increasingly looking for young people who are agile, flexible, adaptable, proactive, creative and collaborative.
"When you consider the requirements needed for today's world of work, there have been rapid changes occurring in the business environment and the increasing importance of application of soft skills. There are new and emerging business-led skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, communication, cognitive flexibility among others. These soft skills are very critical for an organisational growth as well as individual career growth," Mrs Tamakloe said.
She said the bank is passionate about Education and Skills Development for the youth and has offered several opportunities to the youth, especially young graduates, mentioning that the bank had given internship opportunities to almost 500 students over the past four years.
Mrs Essilfuah Tamakloe added that the bank in addition to internship offers other programmes such as, job shadowing, Graduate Management Trainee Programme (Gen-A), Absa Employee Day, career fairs, among others to expose the youth to some of these critical soft skills before they enter the job market.
The Ready to Work programme is Absa Bank's flagship e-learning curriculum that helps to prepare young people for the transition from school to the world of work. It equips young people with the requisite skills they need to enhance their employment or self-employment prospects.