ASSOCIATE Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom, Kathy Daniels, has said the only way to bridge the disconnect between industries and universities regarding the employable skills required by industries from university graduates is to work closely with the industries and know what they want. She noted that after knowing what the industries want, they should be able to influence the universities to teach their students such skills that would make them employable by the industries.
Daniels stated this in Lagos during an interactive session with journalists. She explained that Aston University had imbibed that culture and was able to produce graduates that are meeting the aspirations and expectations of industries across the globe. While commending the British Government for the proposed two-year work permit for foreigners who graduate from British universities, Daniels noted that it would further boost the Aston Global Advantage Programme of her university.
She said: “Through our Aston Global Advantage Programme, we place our students on internship with businesses to develop necessary skills. We pioneered the placement plan where our students go on attachment in industries. They can also go and study abroad because we have strong ties with universities in the United States, Germany, South Africa among others.
“We also help our students to set up their own businesses. They engage in business simulations and are guided by our team of experts. Our students have work opportunities because we prepare them for that, to be entrepreneurs and to also have the required skills to fit into today’s global market.”
Daniels added that Aston University was already discussing with some Nigerian universities to collaborate and engage in student exchange. “This is necessary in today’s world. It is going to bring a lot of benefits to Nigerians. Understanding just one country is not enough. If you study here, you are only exposed to things here, but if you go on exchange to another country, you will find something new to learn,” she explained.
Listing some of the advantages of studying in Aston University, Daniels said the fees were competitive and the cost of living generally in Birmingham was lower than London and some other towns. “We also give generous discount for outstanding students. For instance, the fee for our postgraduate programmes is about £18,000 but a discount of about £4,000 could be given an outstanding student. 0ur undergraduate programme fee is about £16,000 and discount is also available for deserving students,” she added.
She stated that the huge alumni base of the university in Nigeria was a testimony to its acceptability as a university of choice by Nigerians.
She said the university was into a lot of research in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, medicine, engineering, pharmacy among others and that Nigerians would surely benefit immensely attending the institution.
On how to make settling down easy for foreign students, Daniels explained that British students were always ready to pair up with foreign students to make their stay comfortable.
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