Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, has advised undergraduates in Nigerian universities to strive for self-development in order to be relevant in the competitive world.
Adeduntan gave the advice on Thursday in Ibadan, while speaking at the 2019 Career Fair, organised by the University of Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the keynote address delivered by Adeduntan was “The Entrepreneurial Mindset and the Future of Work”.
According to Adeduntan, the world, being a global village, has made it fluid for skills and capabilities to move across geographical borders, hence continuous education and capabilities enhancement is crucial to the survival of graduates.
“Entrepreneurs are problem solvers and entrepreneurship is central to innovation and creativity, both of which are critical for economic growth and development.
“We all have roles to play to ensure that quality graduates are produced from our universities.
“The gown, which is the university, has its role to play, which is to impact knowledge. The industry also needs to partner with the university to ensure that we produce the type of graduates that we require for economic growth and development.
“And that is where we come in at First Bank; we have been in existence for 125 years and we are woven into the fabrics of the society because for us, it is about working with the relevant bodies – government and the private sector – to stimulate growth.
“For you to have economic growth, human capital is the key component of that. So for us, what we are doing today is contributing our own quota towards enhancing the quality of manpower available within the country,” he said.
Adeduntan promised that his bank would replicate what it was doing at the University of Ibadan in other universities across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
In his address, Prof Idowu Olayinka, Vice-Chancellor of the university, appreciated the bank for its support since the inception of the career fair in 2018.
Olayinka, represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovations and Strategic Partnership, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, said the university would continue to strive towards achieving an enduring educational and socioeconomic standard for Nigeria.
“It is obvious that certificate is no longer enough, post-university; the world of work requires skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, complex problem-solving skill, entrepreneurial thinking and mindset, cognitive flexibility as well as the ability to work in a team to excel.
“Other requirements are emotional intelligence and the ability to participate in projects and tasks within a team setting.
“Workplace also requires the demonstration of positive attitude, ability to work safely, learn continuously and manage information.
“The qualities of effective communication, which are ability to adapt positively to situation and use technology, will also be needed.
“The University of Ibadan has, therefore, been revamping curricula as well as providing opportunities for students to acquire necessary soft skills towards gainful employment and employment creation for others,” he said.
According to Olayinka, entrepreneurial mindset is about reinventing oneself.
“Learning and development have to be driven by you; where are you now and what future are you envisioning for yourself? These will determine how you will prepare for the future.
“Future of work will be for somebody who is constantly and continually reinventing himself or herself.
“The future has always been about how far you can see and how well you have prepared to take the future,” he said.
The vice-chancellor said that 600 undergraduates were drawn from the various departments and faculties in the institution to participate in the fair based on merit.
At the panel session, Mrs Rosie Ebe-Arthur, the Group Head, Human Resources, First Bank, enjoined participants to make deliberate decisions and choices about their future.
“Some people still don’t know about the future of work; but we know some hard and soft trends.
“We know that 5G is happening; if we didn’t have 4G, we wouldn’t have been able to have some developments like watch Netflix, Uber wouldn’t have happened and so many others.
“5G is here and we know that it is going to accelerate certain things. How are you positioning yourselves for that? How are you anticipating that change?
“We also know that Audit, Accounting and some other jobs would be taken over by Artificial Intelligence, how deliberate are you in your choices about the future of work,” she said.
A Panelist, Mr Steve Harris, also tasked the participants on the ability to position themselves adequately and acquire the required skills set for growth.
“Being an entrepreneur requires a different level of skills but the future of work lies with you, irrespective of the path you take in the corporate space or in your own business.
“The future of work primarily lies in your ability to take risk, have responsibility and most importantly, your ability to get results,” Harris, the Chief Executive Officer, EdgeEcution, said.