Last Monday, April 30th, a group of leading UK universities organized an invite-only Careers Event at the Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, extending the services and support provided to their graduates. The event brought together over twenty employers and saw approximately 200 alumni from the organising universities pass through the doors.
At a press briefing prior to the event, the UK Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, applauded the initiative which was organized and funded independently by twelve universities. “This will be a great opportunity to showcase the talent and skills of the Nigerian students trained in the UK. The UK is rightly proud of its educational excellence and the universities represented today feature among the very best that we have. I have no doubt that this will be a great opportunity for employers as they actively seek to identify talent to deliver on their business priorities”, she said. Dr. Ibilola Amoa of Lonadek Inc described the event as very timely at a time where a skills gap exists in the science, engineering and technology fields in particular and employers are seeking to meet the most qualified staff possible.
The institutions involved in the organization were the University of Birmingham, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Essex, University of Glasgow, University of Leeds, Loughborough University, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, Robert Gordon University, University of Salford, and University of Southampton. Asked if the group intend to organise the event again, Arinze Odiari of the University of Essex told the press that reflections in the group have already begun on how to build on the inaugural event taking into account feedback and experiences from the April 30th event.
With an exhibition format, alumni in attendance at the event were able to hold one to one discussions with senior HR and talent management executives from the employers present. The employers in attendance represented a broad range of sectors:
- ARM Financial Adviser
- CHICKEN REPUBLIC
- Dangote Cement Plc
- F&V (FAITH AND VICTORY)
- Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited
- Initiative for Education and Development (IDEE)
- Interswitch Limited
- Jaiz Bank Plc
- Lonadek Inc.
- NEXTZON BUSINESS SERVICES LIMITED
- Nigeria LNG Limited
- Nigerian Breweries plc
- Siemens Limited
- The International Finance Corporation (“IFC”, private sector arm of the World Bank Group)
- TOTAL NIGERIA PLC
The CEO of Dangote Cement Plc, Engr. Joseph Makoju, visited the exhibition speaking to alumni, employers and universities present. He is an alumnus of the University of Nottingham.
Furthermore, alumni were treated to breakout seminars and panel discussions organized by the British Council. The speakers were successful UK alumni who shared their insights on the trends and requirements of different sectors in Nigeria at this time.
She studied an MBA as a Chevening scholar at the University of Lancaster.
Speaking as both alumni of a UK university and current representative for Cardiff University in Nigeria, Deve Omiunu commented, “As a first of its kind in Nigeria, I thought it was a well-organized event, well attended by both employers and alumni alike. It is a welcome initiative and goes to show the continuous support we get from our universities.”