The University of Ghana (UG) and Nestlé Ghana Limited have renewed a partnership agreement targeted at enhancing research, innovation, and development with a particular focus on food security.
The partnership is also expected to strengthen the innovation ecosystem by supporting emerging students and providing them with practical learning opportunities in food innovation.
The agreement was signed on Thursday, July 21 at a brief ceremony held at the Great Hall of the University.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gordon Awandare, Pro Vice-Chancellor in charge of Students and Academic Affairs expressed excitement at the partnership, saying that it was in line with the University’s vision of becoming research-intensive and producing graduates with skills relevant to the job market.
“One of the strategic priorities of the university is to increase industry partnership and as global giant, we are proud that you have chosen to partner with us in a comprehensive manner…another strategic priority is increasing graduate training and I see that it is a major focus of this. As a university, we are trying to be research-intensive,” he said.
Prof. Awandare also called for other corporate organizations to partner with universities in the training of students.
“We often hear colleagues from industry decrying the fact that universities train students that are not fit for purpose and these industries are doing nothing about it. We have to work together to train these students,” he remarked.
“This idea that somehow our graduates are not fit for purpose is not really true. It is because industry is not coming on board so that we mould the students to fit the purpose,” Prof. Awandare continued.
Also speaking at the signing, R&D Program manager of Nestle, Celine Worth, described the partnership with the University as very crucial, especially as industry players continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
“We have to relate to the fact that today humanity is facing unprecedented challenges. We have been through the COVID times and now we have the war that has consequences globally and in the food industry, this is putting a lot of pressure on us. The only solution is that we are pulling together resources, knowledge and build together,” she indicated.
She mentioned that the collaboration equally gives Nestle an opportunity to “learn from you and become fit for purpose ourselves.”
The partnership forms part of Nestlé’s ambition to help 10 million young people worldwide access economic opportunities by 2030 as part of the global “Nestlé needs Youth” initiative.