UG and Toyota Ghana Commission Advanced Engineering Training Centre

The University of Ghana and Toyota Ghana Company Limited (TGCL) have successfully commissioned the state-of-the-art University of Ghana–Toyota Ghana School of Engineering Sciences Training Centre. The grand ceremony took place at the forecourt of the facility and showcased the collaboration between academia and industry, emphasising the significance of partnerships and continuity.

Addressing the purpose of the gathering, Prof. Boateng Onwona‐Agyeman, Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) provided a historical background of the project and expressed gratitude to key figures who were involved in the different phases of the project. He acknowledged the pivotal role of both current and former leadership of the University, including former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo and the Japanese Ambassadors to Ghana since 2016, as well as the past and present CEOs and MDs of Toyota Ghana for their critical roles.

Prof. Boateng Onwona‐Agyeman, Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) 

Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, who chaired the event, detailed the project's significance. She highlighted the collaborative vision that began in 2016, aiming to enhance experiential learning and industrial attachment for engineering students to make them job ready.

She revealed that the state-of-the-art facility, a multipurpose workshop, body & paint facility, and delivery centre valued at One Million United States Dollars (US$1,000,000.00) represents one of the major investments the University had received from industry.

“This significant investment by Toyota Ghana Company Limited will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of engineering education not only at the University of Ghana but throughout the country and beyond,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

Prof. Amfo further stated that Toyota Ghana will provide engineering equipment worth two million US dollars over a ten-year period, emphasising the Company's unwavering commitment to the project's sustainability.

She stated, "The commissioning of this Training Centre could not have come at a better time, as plans are far advanced for our School of Engineering Sciences to introduce a Mechanical Engineering programme. The University of Ghana-Toyota Ghana School of Engineering Sciences Training Centre will enhance our capacity to provide crucial support for hands-on training for our engineering students, based on a curriculum co-developed by both parties, which includes training in automobile-related software."

Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor.

Prof. Amfo stressed the importance of the collaboration between the University of Ghana and Toyota Ghana Company Limited as a model for public-private partnerships advancing education and national development.

Ghana’s Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, who was Special Guest at the commissioning commended the collaboration between the University and Toyota Ghana, and the University’s commitment to establishing sustainable partnerships. He encouraged other educational and research institutions to follow the University's example.

The Education Minister emphasised that such cooperations foster interactions between academia and industry, which, in turn, enhance students' skills and capabilities, preparing them for 21st-century education. The Minister acknowledged the progress being made to reform the country's education sector.

He reiterated Government's commitment to investing in education, particularly in STEM education, through the establishment of specialised STEM high schools in parts of the country. He noted that these schools would supply the training centre with students with a strong interest in engineering.

Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister for Education.

Hon. Dr. Osei Adutwum encouraged the School of Engineering Sciences to engage with students at the Senior High School level to ignite their interest in pursuing training at the Centre. He also called for prompt collaborations between the University and the Commission for Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) to expand the contributions of the facility to human capacity development in the country.

Representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. K. T. Hammond (MP) at the event, Mr. Patrick Yaw Nimo, Chief Director of the Ministry, in his speech, recognised the importance of the facility in preparing graduates for the country's automotive industry. He expressed hope that the facility would be able to offer training to SMEs, enabling their participation in the production of high-quality parts, components, and accessories for vehicle repairs and maintenance.

The Chief Director pledged to take steps, through the sector Minister, to formalise collaborations with the College of Basic and Applied Sciences to help sustain the project.

On his part, Mr. Kohji Yanaka, CEO & MD of Toyota Ghana, underscored the Company's commitment to industrial development in Ghana and its role in supporting automotive skills and technology development. “This new facility is an expression of our commitment towards the industrial development of Ghana by providing comprehensive automotive solutions to encounter the rising demands which shall be driven by the full implementation of the Automotive Development Policy and by providing an academic and practical platform for upgrading automotive skills and technology as well stated in the Auto Policy,” Mr. Yanaka mentioned.

He noted the company's responsibility to engage in impactful projects, including a scholarship fund for needy engineering students and a student exchange programme with Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Mr. Kohji Yanaka, CEO & MD of Toyota Ghana

Mr. Yanaka said “We are dedicated to being a socially responsible company by executing impactful projects in the areas of Health, Education, Environment, and Road Safety within the communities we operate. It was during these activities that we developed our partnership with University of Ghana through our patronisation of the student exchange programme with Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. As of today, 2 students from the University of Ghana are studying at Japan.”

He detailed Toyota Ghana's pivotal role in financing the construction of the state-of-the-art training facility and announced the donation of a Toyota Coaster 33-seater bus to facilitate student transportation.

The Toyota Ghana MD also announced, “to further support brilliant but financially challenged engineering science students, Toyota Ghana is establishing a scholarship fund for needy students at the School of Engineering Sciences.”

Mr. Yanaka expressed deep appreciation to the University of Ghana for its support and expressed confidence that the training facility would contribute positively to the education sector.

The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Hisanobu Mochizuki, praised the collaborative effort and investment by Toyota Ghana in enhancing the practical knowledge of Ghanaian engineering students. He considered the facility a key infrastructure for skills development in Ghana and reiterated Japan's commitment to support further collaborations.

In brief remarks, the Chair of the University Council, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo (Rtd.), described the facility as a significant advancement in the University's efforts to improve teaching and learning. She extended appreciation to the Management of Toyota Ghana and all stakeholders who played critical roles in completing the facility.

In a symbolic gesture, the Managing Director of Toyota Ghana handed over the bus to the Vice-Chancellor, through the Minister for Education and the Chair of the University Council.

Handing over of the 30-seater Coaster bus to the Vice-Chancellor

Following this, the Training Centre was officially commissioned by H.E. Hisanobu Mochizuki, with assistance from the Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Osei Adutwum, the Chair of the University Council, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo (Rtd.), Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo and former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu and Mr. Kohji Yanaka, the CEO & MD of Toyota Ghana.

The Toyota Ghana Limited building, which houses a multipurpose workshop, body and paint facility, and delivery centre, was also commissioned by the Japanese Minister and assisted by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the CEO/MD of Toyota Ghana.

After the successful commissioning of the two facilities, the dignitaries and event attendees were taken on a tour of the facilities. Prof. Abu Yaya, a former Acting Dean of the School of Engineering Sciences, conducted the attendees around the Training Centre, whereas a team from TGCL led the tour of the Multipurpose Facility.

In attendance at the commissioning were the Registrar of the University, Mrs. Emelia Agyei-Mensah, Chair of the CBAS Advisory Board, Ing. David Osei Amankwah, College Secretary of CBAS, Mrs. Mavis Otoo-Ayeh, Deans, Directors, former Deans of the School, Heads of Department, faculty and students of the University, along with representatives from the automobile industry.