Accelerated Graduate Development Programme

Accelerated graduate development programme  

It is proposed that the ABLI design and coordinate the implementation of an accelerated graduate development programme on behalf of Jimma University, and in partnership with commercial farmers and agri-businesses. The objectives of the programme are to address the shortage of management skills in the sector; develop a pool of skilled leaders and managers with graduate qualifications; promote the sector as a career of choice; and assist in meeting the strategic staffing needs of companies by providing a practical and accelerated work-based learning experience.

The Accelerated Graduate Development Programme (AGDP) should target high-potential Masters’ graduates (academic ability and leadership potential) – for placement in commercial farms or agri-businesses into a structured management development programme for a minimum period of twelve months. During the twelve months graduates will be provided with an opportunity to gain on-the-job-training to develop the skills necessary to perform various functions across the business on a rotational basis within the organisation.

While the programme should target high-potential Master’s graduates at the start, consideration should be given to broadening and expanding the type of graduates included. Once the programme is well established and has developed a reputation for providing good students consideration should be given to broadening the range of graduates included. This is so that we can establish in the minds of participating firms that they are getting the best (high-potential) students. For example, over time it could be extended to include BSc graduates specialising in agriculture.

Industry organisations will benefit in several ways from such an initiative. Firstly, organisations will be able to attract the best talent and fast-track their development. Secondly, organisations are investing in their future leadership and management pipeline. Thirdly, organisations have an opportunity to build commitment to the business among graduates. 

Graduates benefit in several ways. They are provided with exposure to the world of work and also with an opportunity to fast-track the development of personal and business management skills. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for the development of an employment relationship with the organisation.

The major steps in the implementation of the AGDP involves designing the programme, recruiting participating companies, recruiting high potential graduates, and coordinating the implementation of the programme, including monitoring and evaluation. The ABLI will need to recruit participating companies. It is critically important that there is management buy-in, especially the human resource department, from participating companies.