Newly Launched UG Internship Policy to Empower Students and Graduates with Employable Skills

The University of Ghana (UG) has officially launched its Internship Policy, Strategy, and Implementation Framework to empower its students and graduates with practical skills and experiences to enhance their employability in a competitive job market.

The launch ceremony, which took place at the Great Hall of the University, was attended by members of the University's management, faculty, staff, students, and partner organisations and institutions.

The policy was approved by the University Council in September 2023 following its successful drafting and review.

During the launch, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor, highlighted the significance of this structured and formal Internship Policy. She emphasised that the policy's goal is to bridge the gap between the academic skills students acquire during their studies and the demands of the labour market.

Prof. Amfo stated, "By doing so, it seeks to boost the confidence of students and enhance their employability, ultimately promoting successful transitions into the workforce for UG graduates." She also revealed that there have been various internship programmes across the University but noted the absence of comprehensive records and formal agreements with organisations, which made it challenging to document the value of internships.

“The new policy is set to formalise internship arrangements, provide budgetary support, expand partnerships, and establish monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for internship activities”, the Vice-Chancellor said. She mentioned that the policy aligns with her Strategic Objectives as Vice-Chancellor which emphasise decentralisation at the College level to empower Colleges for efficiency and accountability.

She stressed that “in implementing this policy, the University will seek to establish formal internship agreements with organizations, ensure proper record-keeping on internships, and to facilitate more financial benefits from internships for our students.”

Chairperson for the launch event and Chair of the University Council, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo (Rtd.), expressed the Council’s strong support for the introduction and robust implementation of the Internship Policy. She said, “We unanimously approved the draft policy when it was presented to Council for consideration a few months ago. Indeed, the consensus at Council was that such a policy was long overdue.”

She highlighted the need to equip students with essential skills and attributes to excel in a competitive job market. The Chair of Council called on the University's management to ensure the policy's full implementation and adaptability to a rapidly changing society.

Furthermore, Justice Akuffo (Rtd.) encouraged students to make the most of their internships by focusing on learning technical and interpersonal skills, gathering background information about their field, and building a strong professional network.

The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, lauded the initiative for its potential to address employers' demands for graduates with practical skills and enhance the partnership between academia and industry. In a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Bright Wireko-Brobby, he indicated that internships would help students learn corporate ethics and gain exposure to the world of work.

Head of Civil Service and the keynote speaker, Dr. Evans Aggrey-Darkoh, underscored the significance of internship programmes in connecting academic education to real-world experiences. He listed valuable skills students could gain, such as critical thinking, communication, leadership, problem-solving, and digital literacy.

Dr. Aggrey-Darkoh highlighted the benefits of internships for employers, including the opportunity to evaluate potential employees, access quality candidates, and obtain fresh ideas. He expressed the commitment of the Civil Service to open its doors to interns and provide the needed environment to hone their skills, urging other governmental and corporate organisations to do the same.

At the launch, Prof. Justice Bawole, Dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) and Chairman of the Policy Drafting Committee, presented an overview of the policy, its vision and mission, strategies for implementation, and an implementation framework. He expressed gratitude to UG Management for the opportunity given the Committee to contribute to the University’s growth and to the members for their hard work and commitment that saw the policy approved and launched.

The event culminated in the official launch of the policy by Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo (Rtd.), Chair of the University Council, and Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, along with other dignitaries.

Earlier in the ceremony, the Registrar Mrs. Emelia Agyei-Mensah delivered welcome remarks in which she underscored the significance of the internship policy to the University.

Commenting on the policy in his vote of thanks, UGSRC President Mr. Frank Tsikata expressed delight at the launch of the policy and acknowledged the proactive steps taken by Management to provide a structured and formal guide for internship programmes. “This initiative holds great significance for us, the students, and offers numerous benefits that will shape our educational and professional journeys. This policy will effectively assist us in realising and fulfilling our potential”, he stated.

Mr. Tsikata said, “As the student body, we are grateful for this initiative, and we believe it will have a profound impact on our educational and professional journeys. We look forward to witnessing the positive outcomes brought forth by this policy and the incredible opportunities it will create for our students.”

The Internship Policy is expected to provide students with meaningful internship experiences and equip them with the skills and attributes necessary for successful careers. It reflects the university's commitment to preparing well-rounded graduates for the ever-changing job market, promoting their academic growth, and ensuring they contribute effectively to society's development.

The policy also signifies a pivotal step in providing students with essential practical experiences to excel in their chosen fields, aligning with the University's mission to contribute to national and global development through high-quality teaching, research.