The disconnect in the skills gap between industry and tertiary institutions must be bridged to promote national development, Mr Rockson Dogbegah, the Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB) Africa, has said.
Mr Dogbegah said most graduates from higher learning institutions find it challenging to fit into the world of work due to the gap between what they learn and what actually pertains on the field.
He cited developed economies such as the United Kingdom and United States of America, where there is a direct link between industry and higher educational institutions, which ensures that industries prosper, remains competitive and drives economic growth.
A typical example, he said, is the collaboration between Standford University and the Silicon Valley as well as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Route 28.
He said there is evidence to support the call for collaboration between industry and institutions of higher learning because of the quest for competitive advantage.
“The academia has the potential to be a fruitful source of ideas and innovation,” and wondered why the developing world cannot bridge the gap in order to also grow their economies.
On the reasons for the missing link, Mr Dogbegah said the absence of insight, active participation, mentorship and advice in an academic-industry research is one of the factors preventing any meaningful collaboration.
Besides the fear by industry professionals that providing information to researchers in academia might end up in the hands of a key competitor is a major drawback.
There is also the lack of funding for the type of research that can offer solutions from academia to industry.
Mr Dogbegah, who is also the Chairman of Berock Ventures, a local construction company, said there is the need for tertiary institutions to promote entrepreneurial and technology transfer culture; identify and concentrate on research niches.
He lauded the teaching of entrepreneurship in universities and polytechnics as one of the most important steps needed to address this problem.
He encouraged tertiary institutions to utilize pre-existing networks, such as alumni and departmental associations to facilitate the collaboration of tertiary education and industry.