ACCESS International Summer School Nigeria 2023

Title: "Cultivating New Frontiers in Employability Research for Skills and Career Enhancement"

Date: 31st July - 04th August 2023

Venue: Abuja, Nigeria


Organised by the African Centre for Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS) in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC), the 4th ACCESS International Summer School and Conference took place in Abuja, Nigeria, from 31 July to 4 August 2023. Over these five days, more than 300 participants from seven partner universities in six African countries and Germany attended the event in person and online. The conference and summer school, held under the title “Cultivating New Frontiers in Employability Research for Skills and Career Enhancement,” focused on enhancing the employability of African graduates through four key pillars: Capacity Building, University Business Linkage, Employability Research, and the African-German Entrepreneurship Academy. The event was attended by prominent figures, including the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. David Adejo Andrew; the Acting Executive Secretary of NUC, Dr. Chris J. Maiyaki; the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede; and representatives from various educational and employment organisations such as NECA, NYSC, and the Industrial Training Fund.

The conference addressed the pressing issue of graduate employability in Africa amidst the growing number of tertiary institutions. The disconnect between African universities and the industry was highlighted as a major concern, leading to the chosen theme. The NUC has implemented various policies to promote employability, including the establishment of Entrepreneurship Development Centres and the integration of entrepreneurship into university curricula. The opening ceremony, chaired by Mr. David Adejo Andrew, emphasised the Nigerian government’s commitment to improving graduate employability. The Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Chris J. Maiyaki, underscored NUC’s ongoing efforts to integrate entrepreneurship and skills development into university education. The conference featured a keynote paper on employability research and a panel discussion on promoting university graduate employability. Various stakeholders delivered goodwill messages, calling for stronger university-industry collaboration.

In addition to engaging lectures and discussion sessions, there were various hands-on workshops where participants gained new knowledge and insights into teaching and learning concepts, including sustainability, research commercialisation, e-coaching and e-teaching, and entrepreneurship. The scientific exchange was complemented by the presentation of more than 40 scientific papers, providing new insights on education, employability, skills acquisition, and graduate transition, among others. Between the scientific sessions, there were numerous opportunities for personal exchange and discussion of further research approaches. The event concluded with visits to various institutions dealing with graduate employability in Africa. Participants explored the Innovation Hub “Innov8” and the Nigerian art scene by visiting the Nike Art Gallery.


Participants noted several critical issues and made key recommendations, including the rapid increase in universities versus the slow expansion of the job market, high unemployment rates among Africa’s youthful population, the need for African universities to align their curricula with labour market expectations, the importance of employability research and data for effective planning, the necessity of integrating practical and experiential learning, such as service learning and apprenticeships, into university programmes, and the promotion of soft skills and digital literacy as essential components of university education.

During the event, ACCESS achieved a significant impact. NUC expressed its readiness to boost programmes aimed at improving the employability skills of Nigerian university graduates. As a key initiative, the Commission is responsible for ensuring that universities are equipped with the necessary tools, facilities, and skills to nurture employable graduates. Journalist Felix Khanoba of the local newspaper “The Authority” covered the first conference day. Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger, ACCESS Project Director, emphasised the necessity for African universities to create structures that promote graduate employability.

The conference and summer school concluded with a call for enhanced collaboration among universities, government, and the private sector to ensure that African graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a dynamic job market. This summary highlights the key points of the 2023 International Summer School and Conference, reflecting the collective efforts and insights of participants aimed at addressing the employability challenges faced by African graduates.

Conference Documents

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