“BE THE CHANGE, RETHINK YOUR FUTURE, CAPTURE IT!” – STANCHART HEAD OF RETAIL BANKING URGES SOCIAL SCIENCES STUDENTS

Mrs. Akweley Laryea, Head of Retail Banking, Standard Chartered Bank, The Gambia.

The Head of Retail Banking of the Standard Chartered Bank in the Gambia, Mrs. Akweley Laryea, has urged final year students of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Ghana, Legon to continuously assess their relevance to the world in the light of changes occurring around them.

Mrs. Laryea, herself a proud alumna of the School, was speaking on the topic: Rethinking Your Future at the second edition of the Student Industry Meeting (SIM)-Day organized by the School on May 10, 2019 at the Kofi Drah Conference Room.

In brief welcome remarks, the Dean of the School, Prof. Charity Sylvia Akotia, stated that the SIM Day is an annual event held in line with Strategic Goal 3 of the School’s Strategic Plan, which  seeks in part, to design programmes that respond to the needs of industry in order to make graduates of the School “employable and equip them with entrepreneurial skills to enhance their opportunities in life”. Consequently, the programme is targeted at final year students of the School with the aim of helping them understand the world of work and to have industry players impact on their expectations of the work place. The Dean, therefore, called on the students to use the occasion as a learning opportunity in preparation towards the future that they are about to step into right after school.

  

Prof. Charity Sylvia Akotia, Dean, School of Social Sciences.

In her presentation, Mrs. Akweley Laryea stated that in rethinking their future, students need to access all the available information from the past and present and use it to change their mindset and agenda about the future. She stressed the need for change, which she described as the only constant in life, and its implication for reinvention, innovation and transformation. She cited the examples of former corporate giants such as those in the film and cell phone industry that failed to correctly interpret the happenings around them and to take risks in innovation, thus resulting in their ultimate extinction. “The world around us is changing…Corporations and the people who drive them must constantly innovate to stay alive”, she said.

  

A cross-section of the audience.

Mrs. Laryea observed that the 21st century has ushered in a lot of trendy and technological innovations that have affected every aspect of life including what people eat and wear, how they move around, how they learn and even manage their health. She stated that over the past decade alone, there have been new trends and innovations in banking and insurance as well as in the mobile money system and even church, all due to the advancement in technology. In view of that, she urged students to develop critical skills that would meet the demands of the current as well as future job markets.

Using the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 as a reference point, Mrs. Laryea explained the difference between stable, new and redundant roles in organizations. She stated that with technology, there is a growing trend to automate jobs, thus resulting in some roles becoming redundant while a new set of roles are rising in demand. She, therefore, urged the students to develop a combination of hard and soft skills (that is, specific technical expertise as well as interpersonal skills) that are relevant to the future of work. She stated that according to LinkedIn, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management have been listed as the five top soft skills while cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, people management and UX Design are the five top hard skills for the job market.

Mrs. Laryea urged the students to take initiatives that can make them develop employable skills and the needed experience for their future. She suggested examples of such initiatives that students can create, drive and participate in, in order to make them stand out as persons of value among the increasing numbers of unemployed graduates. “Rather than sit idle, waiting for a company to employ you, use your unique skills and abilities to create and run your own business. Be an entrepreneur!” she declared.

Mrs. Laryea cited the examples of young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, who stepped out boldly to start their own businesses, some of which are recognized on the world stage. These young entrepreneurs include Fred Deegbe, co-founder and Chief Shoemaker of ‘Heel the World, a shoe production and design company in Accra; Regina Agyare Honu, founder of Soronko Solutions, a software development company; Alex Adjei Bram, co-founder and General Manager of SMSGH, a leading mobile and internet value added services provider in Accra; and Patience Maame Mensah, founder of Indulgence, an all-inclusive home management and maintenance agency, among others.

 

In conclusion, Mrs. Laryea charged the students to take personal responsibility for their own lifelong learning and career development. “Don’t become extinct. Make use of the immense resources around you to learn and grow. Be your own personal business project and watch your personal value increase!”, she advised.

After her presentation, Mrs. Laryea took time to answer questions from the students, stressing that “Good enough will never change the world”.

Other speakers at the programme were the Director of the Centre for European Studies, Prof. Ransford Gyampo and the School Administrator, Ms. Mavis Oye Addotey. They took turns to reiterate the need for the students to make good use of the information gathered in order to become relevant to their world.

  

Prof. Ransford Gyampo, Director, Centre for European Studies.

  

Ms. Mavis Addotey, School Administrator.

The event turned out to be an overall success that brought together students from the six departments of the School, namely, Departments of Economics, Geography and Resource Development, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work and Sociology as well as support staff from the School.

  

Question Time

 

  

Left - Right: Mr. Cyril Laryea, Ms. Mavis Addotey, Prof. Charity Akotia, Mrs. Akweley Laryea and Prof. Ransford Gyampo

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