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L-R:- International Alumni Relations Manager, Modasar Rasul; Regional Manager, Africa, Babajide Ogundeji; Conversion Officer, Nigeria, Opeyemi Oshineye; Senior Lecturer Engineering and Physical Sciences, Tim Whitehead; Marketing &Admin Officer, Olajumoke Adeosun; Associate Dean, International Aston Business School, Keith Schofield; and Global Director of International Recruitment, Matt Dean at the Aston University get-together held in Lagos

UK varsity director says students need employability and academic skills

By Grace Edema

Global Director of International Recruitment, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom, Mr. Matt Dean, has said it is important for students to gain work experience and quality academic skills while still in the university. Speaking at the Aston University alumni party, held in Lagos, Dean explained that Aston’s focus was on offering quality courses in business, engineering, health, math, sciences and social sciences.

He said: “Within all of our courses we offer work placements. If you are an undergraduate, it means you can work for one year or two before the end of your degree program. So it gives you the academic skill and the employability experience. It gives you a step ahead into the job market because we know it is a competitive job market. We also give all of our post-graduate students the opportunity to gain working experience starting from one week up to four years depending on their programmes.’’

Dean disclosed that the university gave £3 million scholarships and that Nigerian students who won enterprise scholarships were being fully-funded. , others | Punch

‘‘Each year we spend over £2 million to cover scholarship costs. Actually, it’s £3 million this year. Nigerian students can enjoy £3,000 to £10,000 scholarship. We have Allen Ferguson scholarship which gives £10,500 to students. The scholarships go to students that are academically qualified and motivated,’’ he explained.

The Regional Manager, Africa, Babajide Ogundeji, noted that a lot of Nigerian students had come to study at Aston University over the last 30 years, adding that they were usually the best. ‘‘The Nigerian students we have, turned out to be the best in Aston. They have seen that the system of education in the UK is quite different. One thing about Aston University is that most of our lecturers are people who have gotten the industry experience. We are the first university in the UK to offer work placement as part of the learning experience for students. So when they come you see the excitement and the eagerness to explore what they are taught in the classrooms and the opportunities that are available in Birmingham. We have got 50 years experience of working with companies,’’ he explained.

While explaining their interest in Nigerian students, he said: ‘‘Our goal with partnership in Nigeria is to help with capacity building and research linkages. We spend a lot on research and we approach research collaboratively with these universities. So it’s not just recruiting students from Nigeria. This event is about bringing alumni together from Nigeria that will come back to Nigeria to do amazing things to build Nigeria.’ 

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