Work-integrated Learning for Economic Prosperity

Every year, the African job market receives 10 to 12 million youth with limited employment prospects; meanwhile, employers find graduates unready for the job market. The demand-supply skills mismatch vis-à-vis the labour market, despite Africa’s rapidly growing talent pool, is one of the driving forces behind our mission at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS); to “enable Africa’s brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa’s future scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency”.

Through well-thought programs that compose the institution’s pillars, our students from over 40 countries on the continent are nurtured by AIMS to become the next generation of leaders, through mathematical sciences, public engagement, and research. The young Africans coming from different cultures, with the help of AIMS, hone their ideas and creativity into valuable skills that contribute to the global science hub.

“At AIMS, we learn several technical skills, but most importantly, we get exposure. We convene here from different countries and experiences and this is helpful because we all face different problems back home. Hence, we get to share ideas on how to solve these problems better,” Valensi Mugolozi, a recent graduate from AIMS Rwanda.

Through our centres in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, and Rwanda, we have trained over 2300 students across our network, with 35% being female scientists. We believe that the next Einstein will undoubtedly be one of these. 

Under our Centres of Excellence, AIMS programs such as the Industry Initiative work to build industry partnerships to identify win-win opportunities for AIMS students, alumni, and industry partners. These include short-term work placements, internships, and employment, and through these placements, students are exposed to problems and challenges that they’ll be facing in their field of expertise when they start working. 

COVID-19 has tested all working methods. We have since re-adapted the practical phase of the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program by creating a remote version of it with the support of our industrial partners. As a result, our students remain equipped to solve problems for firms, both at home and beyond, with their expertise. 

“The students of AIMS that are doing internships with us have been beneficial to us. They have worked as data engineers to extract data, and they eased the analytics around the data we have in place,” said Charles Cyusa, Director, Digital Experience, I&M Bank, Rwanda. “They created dashboards that we can now use even after they go and have created a kind of prediction that we can use for the next couple of years from the data that we have,” he added. 

The Cooperative Program at AIMS continues to reduce the number of young Africans who join the job market without the needed skills and contributes to the overall development of Africa in the long run. AIMS strives to produce graduates with the necessary skills to create, innovate, invent, and solve problems.

“We’re here to build a knowledge ecosystem which will impact the whole of society, from changing the life chances of kids to sparking innovation in industry and placing Africa on the leading edge of discovery,” Prof. Neil Turok, the AIMS Founder, and Chair, International Governing Board.