BU Round Up June 08 2020 | Volume 051

In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the biggest question raised by many Universities is 
“Which critical skills and competencies do graduates need to cope with the new nature of work?”
To initiate this discussion and take forward this important issue, Botho University on the 3rd June 2020 hosted a LIVE Webinar on the topic ‘’Skills for African Graduates for a post Covid-19 world’’. Panelists in the discussion included Dr. Raphael Dingalo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), Botswana; Mrs. Neo Bogatsu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM); Mr. John Foster- Pedley, Dean and Director Henley Business School, South Africa; and Mr. Kola Aina, Founding Partner, Ventures Platform, Nigeria. The one and a half hour webinar was moderated by the Vice Chancellor of Botho University, Mrs. Sheela Raja Ram and was attended by participants from Botswana, Nigeria, Eswatini ,USA, France, India, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Cameroon, South Africa, just to mention a few.

In his presentation, Mr. Kola Aina noted that the Fourth Industrial revolution (4IR) has considerably changed the way we live and work. Africa therefore needs scalable and innovative solutions in order to survive. He identified the following as critical skills that African graduates ought to have: Heightened levels of curiosity, Empathy (putting oneself in the reality of another), urgency (Africa’s problems are increasing due to its growing population), Technical skills, Entrepreneurship & Soft skills for managing relationships.

The CEO for BIFM, Mrs. Neo Bogatsu, observed that graduates need to adapt quickly to the new normal and avail themselves of the many new business opportunities that have arisen. Prior experience has diminished in relevance and instead digitalization has taken precedence. Employees need curiosity, they need to learn, unlearn and relearn. Attitude is everything and everyone need to think outside the box. Mrs. Bogatsu noted a number of changes that have taken place in the financial sector including digitalization and flexible hours. Work is now about output as opposed to physical presence. She also highlighted that there is demand for IT graduates, advertisers, graphic designers, website developers, cyber security experts and e- business professionals.

Mr. John Foster-Pedley noted that even though there are still concerns about safety, people are  overcoming the fear of the new normal and adapting to new technology. According to him the critical things to survive and thrive include Innovation and growth mentality as well as agility, talent and management skills.

Dr. Dingalo reiterated the importance of reskilling and retooling during this post Covid-19 era. He informed attendee’s that HRDC has developed the National Human Resource Development plan, which indicates all priority occupations and skills that are in demand.

In closing, the VC of Botho University thanked both the panelists and the attendees and reminded them of the  following practical skills that everyone need to learn to keep themselves and those they interact with safe from Covid-19 infection:

  • How to wear a mask,
  • How to wash hands  and
  • How to connect socially during this pandemic.

All in all the session was very successfully received and attended by a large number of people across various sectors through predominantly from the education space across Africa. There are more such webinars on pertinent issues lined up from Botho University. 

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