The Fund Your Future program between Nexford University, based in Washington D.C., and Sterling Bank aims to solve “three major challenges”, Obinna Ukachukwu, divisional head, Health and Education sectors with Sterling Bank explained.
“In the World Economic Forum’s index, Nigeria scored 44% on human capital development when measured by skills acquisition, trailing the sub-Saharan African average of 55% by 11%.
“Also, Nigerian employers face the most difficulties in filling managerial, professional and technical jobs due to lack of skilled applicants.”
“We are committed to making access to qualified talent far easier for employers”
As part of the agreement, Sterling Bank will underwrite students’ loans to fund their tuition in a bid to protect students against Naira foreign exchange fluctuations to improve budgeting for degree costs.
Additionally, Sterling will provide partial scholarships and internships during studies, along with post-graduation job opportunities. The bank in turn will benefit from access to graduates with skills specifically tailored to its corporate needs.
According to the partners, 50% of Nigeria’s high school graduates fail to gain admission to local universities and other institutions of learning.
Nexford, which raised $10.8 million earlier in 2021, said the partnership with the bank is a “perfect example” of how the institution is helping bridge gaps between employers and higher education.
“We are committed to making access to qualified talent far easier for employers, while making education more accessible and relevant for learners, Nexford’s CEO, Fadl Al Tarzi, said.
The Sterling Bank partnership kicks off Nexford’s global roll-out, he noted.
“The program is designed to solve three major challenges of enabling employers to find qualified entry level talent, helping students with affordable access to university and giving students the skills they need to actually get jobs,” Ukachukwu added.
The Fund Your Future and is part of Nexford’s wider Learn to Earn project for emerging markets.
The institution also offers the Nexford for Business program which launched in 2020 focuses on reskilling and upskilling employees. The World Economic Forum stated last year that 1 billion workers will need to be reskilled by 2030.
Nexford has previously told The PIE that it mines job vacancies to ensure its curricula are designed to provide students with the skills employers need.
Large employers such as Dangote Cement in Nigeria, Indosat in Indonesia, and Hassan Allam Holding in Egypt have already partnered with Nexford to upskill their employees.