The knowledge of ICT in Nigeria seems pretty high, but one of the constraints remains that the knowledge is not essentially backed up with proper matching practical skills and competencies that meet the industry requirements, as well as turning those skills into socio-economic values; Justice Godfrey Okamgba speaks with Engr. Ogochukwu Frank Ifeanyi, Chief Technology Strategist, Debbie Mishael Consulting on the issue.
1. What is this whole initiative all about and how does it impact Nigeria as one of the leading countries with ICT potentials.
The whole initiative directly puts the platform to bridge the apparent gap, intelligently by uniquely enabling disruptions within the IT knowledge, learning, skills and competence space targeted on three levels that will accelerate: IT Education, IT knowledge, skill and expertise, IT Professionalism.
So, in effect, we shall in our little way create small clusters of knowledgeable, skilled and entrepreneurially minded technology professionals with a global perspective. The International Careers IT Programme is a collaboration between Debbie Mishael Consulting Limited, Nigeria and Institute of Chartered IT Professionals ( ICITP, SA).
The impact, therefore, is that a new set of value-adding, solution based and business minded technopreneurs will emerge that will enable this economy technologically.
Nigeria no doubt is a leading country with huge ICT potentials, but the fact remains that we have not been able to harness these potentials optimally because of the huge mismatch or disconnect between the academia and the industry regarding knowledge, skill, and competencies that meet the requirements of the industry.
Also, my experience over the years in administering technology internship programs informed this whole journey. I have mentored and coached over 1500 interns from Universities, Polytechnics within and outside Nigeria within a ten year period.
So, I know and understand this disconnect of the academics and the industry on the one hand and the disconnect between technology leaders in organizations and the business they are meant to enable.
i)Technology graduates are not prepared for the industry; they do not have requisite skill and competency to meet the industry requirement or even run their own business
ii)Lack of Entrepreneurship and business skills
iii)Technology leaders are disconnected from the business
iv)Prior Learning experience and skill in non-formal environments is also not evaluated and validated
2. What can you say about the level of ICT knowledge in Nigeria?
Knowledge without the capacity to translate that knowledge to value for economic and social reasons, therefore, is meaningless.
ICT knowledge in Nigeria seems pretty high, but the issue we have is that the knowledge is not essentially backed up with proper matching practical skills and competencies that meet the industry requirements – which is the ability and capacity to solve problems.
So the very essence of this program is to translate that knowledge to capacity and also capacity to convert that knowledge powered by relevant skills and competencies into economic and social value. So we shall address these known issues holistically in the program. We are addressing the issues on three fronts: young school leavers, fresh graduates/corpers/ final year undergraduates and of course graduates and IT professional.
We are not just providing training but we are forming and changing destinies – creating new mindsets and perspectives.
3. How affordable are these programs and who are your target audience are?
The program fees are very affordable because we are probably the only one entity that has this unique approach to technology knowledge, skill, and competencies. We are preparing people to be strategically positioned to take advantage of the disruptions occurring in our world.
Our target audience is primarily youth, women and IT professionals.
Now the reason is that we needed to go backward to address the observed gaps from SS3, final year undergraduates, graduates, corpers and IT professionals.
Those who want to pursue International IT Education, who desire to acquire the necessary skill and competencies and those who are in already in IT professions who want to accelerate their IT career and be globally competitive.
So for secondary leavers – International IT education; corpers, fresh graduates – essential IT skills and competence; and IT professionals who want to accelerate their IT career and be internationally competitive. Information are contained in our website: (www.careersit.org)
4. A lot of organizations and institutions are offering training on technology, how is yours different and what are the selling points?
Well, I do agree with you that a lot of organizations are providing training on technology, of course, there is enough technology training out there. However, what we are offering is not just technology training, but we are technology and life skill provider- a blended environment of technology training, innovation, entrepreneurial and business skills and incubation hub mode. Our training modules address all of this- enterprise skills for youths, women and IT professionals.
Entrepreneurship is a mindset- empowering them in practical terms to use technology to create value. The foundation of unemployment is the fact that school teaches us to be an employee rather than an entrepreneur. That is why we have a teeming population of unemployed youths including many unskilled graduates roaming the streets.
So our program outcome is to produce globally competitive technopreneurs who can operate in any economy from anywhere. With our program, for example, a developer will now be able to develop an app and also know how to apply the 4p(s) of marketing to create product awareness to prospective clients, and also feasibility studies for the product.
So essentially we have a holistic approach with our international partners (ICITP) to offer this program that provides you the following opportunities amongst others:
• Acquire a globally accepted IT qualifications and certifications locally here without FOREX issues.
• Highly affordable
• Examinations are available on Pearson Vue global testing platform.
• Curriculum based on globally accepted National Qualification Framework (NQF).
• International first year IT Education locally, then subsequently to complete in South African Universities
• Practical skill and competencies
• IT professionals
• Excellent training facilities
• Work permit opportunities
• International internship opportunities
• Access to Mentors
5. The latest data from National Bureau of Statistics indicate an exponential increase in unemployment rate, is there any role your program can play will curb the surge?
The Nigeria’s unemployment rate is about 13.9% which is pretty high. So our objective is to help the government to reduce unemployment in our nation amongst particularly our teeming youths, women, and graduates.
We are looking forward to partnering with the Federal and State governments even Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to deliver this program customized to address the unemployment and youth restiveness in their environments. Of course, we intend to partner with NGOs as well.
Employment can be considered in two broad perspectives i.e. being an employee or an employer of labor. Our program, therefore, is focused more on developing entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Additionally, because our qualifications and certifications are internationally accepted as critical skills, our graduands can work outside our shores. So employment and job creation within and job opportunities abroad. So we can export significant technology expertise legitimately. The inflow of Forex from that too. Ultimately we are aiding in the quest for unemployment reduction.
6. Concerning knowledge transfer, how qualitative is it, who are the mentors and what ways do they intend to make trainees standout?
The remarkable thing about this program is that it’s a blended program approach, but it’s based on a globally accepted National Qualification Framework (NQF). The program has a continuous moderating, assessment and auditing framework by our international partners (ICITP, SA) to ensure that we remain within the standards and set the quality of the entire program. So aga in it has elements of work-directed academic learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning and workplace learning.
The mentors are our Certified Technical Trainers, trained specifically for this program, found competent for all the modules. These are guys with experiences from the production environment. They facilitate and mentor based on personal experience and not just theory; acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding, and knowledge relating to technology in economic and social life.
Our program also prepares IT graduates and professionals for executive positions in the IT industry and corporates. Our certification is a South African Qualification Framework that is similar to other qualification frameworks and its internationally recognized and accepted.