Swiss food companies partner with institutions of higher learning to up skill Ghanaian youths

GHANA – A consortium of Swiss companies namely Nestlé, ABB, Barry Callebaut, LafargeHolcim and Bühler have partnered with one of the world’s leading universities, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) to launch a new master’s program in sub-Saharan Africa.

The ‘ETH Masters in Africa – Engineering for Development’ is a three-year program, developed in close collaboration with Ashesi University in Ghana.

ETH Zurich lecturers will work on site with Ashesi University’s professors as well as with industrial partners to teach the students from Ghana.

The educational content, will be based on both existing ETH Zurich courses and the current needs of the industry sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Nestlé is proud to be playing a part in helping ETH Zurich to reach a wider audience.

“Today, with all the uncertainty in the world, worries about economic pressures, we owe it to the younger generation to support them,” said Christian Schmid, Nestlé’s Head of Technical, Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa (AOA).

The initiative was triggered by the fact that half of the global population is under 30 years old, and almost half of that group are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite having a large population being of productive age, youth employment is a challenge that governments are tackling through increased access to education.

To this end the corporations have partnered to impart the necessary skills to the young professionals to thrive in the world of work by bringing the best of Swiss engineering training and development, and widening access to this expertise.

“I encourage young students to embrace this great opportunity for development. Graduates will have excellent job prospects in the industry, as they will have the required engineering and technical education and the necessary soft skills.

“The program also meets our Homegrown talent agenda where engineers can move from one of our factories to another across Africa and beyond,” said Fabricio Blini, OSCO Director – Barry Callebaut Ghana.

The ‘ETH Masters in Africa – Engineering for Development Program’ will be offered to five cohorts of students, starting in October 2021.

Each student will get a scholarship, funded by the industrial partners and administered by ETH Zurich in collaboration with Ashesi University, for the three years of study.

Mauricio Alarcón, CEO of Nestlé Central and West Africa Region, said, “Through this partnership with leading Swiss and Ghanaian universities, our ambition is to ensure that African graduates possess the right skills to help them build a better future.”

Accelerating the transition from education to employment is a new model for cooperation between universities and enterprises which will hopefully be widely spread to empower African youth.

“We want this master’s to have a real impact on sustainable development. We’re drawing here on the different skills and perspectives of the project parties – ETH, Ashesi and partners from the industry – as we all want to learn from each other to build a better and more integrated educational offering that can flourish independently in the future,” asserted ETH Rector Sarah Springman.

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