Sterling Bank Plc and Nexford University, a United States based next generation online university, have announced a new partnership that will create a global emerging markets’ talent pipeline known as “Fund Your Future” as part of Nexford’s wider ‘Learn to Earn’ for emerging markets.
Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health and Education sectors at Sterling Bank, who disclosed this in a statement issued by the bank recently, said the programme was designed to solve three major challenges of enabling employers to find qualified entry level talent, helping students with affordable access to university and giving students the skills they need to actually get jobs.
He said: “In the World Economic Forum’s index, Nigeria scored 44 per cent on human capital development when measured by skills acquisition, trailing the sub-Saharan African average of 55 per cenby 11 per cent.
Also, Nigerian employers face the most difficulties in filling managerial, professional and technical jobs due to lack of skilled applicants.”
According to him, the index also showed that 50 per cent of Nigeria’s high school graduates failed to gain admission into local universities and other institutions of learning, while employers across emerging markets struggle to find qualified entry-level talent and are forced to invest in expensive and time-consuming training.
The divisional head added that a McKinsey survey of young people and employers in nine countries, including major developing countries, showed that 40 per cent of employers noted a lack of skills was the main reason for entry level job vacancies while 60 per cent said new graduates were not adequatetely prepared for the world of work.
Ukachukwu remarked that the benefits of the partnership for Sterling Bank were multiple.
“First is access to student talent. The students are given an education specifically tailored to the bank’s corporate needs.
This saves Sterling Bank money on current early stage training to upskill graduates to the required level. Nexford’s competency-based curriculum also provides Sterling Bank with multiple data points to evaluate applicants’ qualifications, thus saving time on filtering large numbers of applications and the wider recruitment process,” he stated.
He said the students would also benefit as Sterling Bank will be playing two roles of helping the students to underwrite loans to fund their tuition fees with Nexford, adding that this would protect them against fluctuations in foreign exchange and put them in control of their finances.
He said Sterling Bank would also provide the students with partial scholarships and internships during their studies, in addition to post-graduation job opportunities.
The wider context is that in markets such as the U.S., employer-funded education has grown significantly with $82.5 billion spent on upskilling in 2020 alone.
The World Economic Forum also stated that one billion workers will need to be reskilled by 2030.
While the need for upskilling globally is significant, the availability of a young population across emerging markets means their economies would face significant shortages of qualified entry level talent