Training is considered a necessary ingredient for any organisation to perform optimally whether in public or private sector. In this interview with The Industry, Engineer Onyinye Igbokwe, a UK-based techpreneur and founder of an Ed-Tech startup, Ujali reiterated the need for organisations to imbibe the culture of training. She warned that the cost of no training is grave and detrimental to an organisation than the fear of poaching. Excerpts:

Enter the Ujali:

Ujali is a UK based company I started last year. We have moved our primary target market to Nigeria to solve the soft skill gap prevalent in African companies. The idea is basically to recruit some of the best facilitators in the UK and other parts of Europe and bring them to Nigeria to teach our workforce in various fields to be effective and perform optimally in the workplace.

In Nigeria, it is difficult to hire people because of skill gaps. Some of the graduates lack the necessary skills to compete globally. Africa has a prevalent skill gap challenge. Though many people in the continent went to school, but how does that translate into productivity? In UK, for instance, what they look out for is skill an individual possesses for a particular job, not necessarily the degrees. The soft skill problems in Nigeria include leadership, business development, and personal development. These are the things needed in an organization for premium team performance.

Based on this, we established UjaliPro, a platform that helps organizations to recruit the best experts, world-wide, for training needs of their workforce. We are committed to closing soft skill gaps and not learning or educational gaps in Nigeria. The workforce needs to be involved in proper training to close the skill gap for work efficiency.


It is a general skill gaps solution in various companies including the public sector. I have worked in Nigeria and the UK but the quality of work being turned out in UK is very different and this is informed by skills the workforce possesses. Even when Nigerians are very educated, there is often the issue of soft skill proficiency. We are therefore assisting to bridge this skill gap to improve productivity in Nigeria. Our platform, UjaliPro, is where companies can log in to book their workforce into specific trainings that are being provided by our training vendors abroad. The companies can also book these top-shelf international trainers directly to Nigeria and save cost. The booking depends on the companies’ human capital needs and the problem they want to solve for efficient performance.

Causes of skill gap in Africa:

In African schools, we are more theoretical than practical. In African countries, it is 99 percent theory. In the other foreign countries, it is the other way round; they are taught the practical, and get the theoretical aspect to back it up. Africans should copy this model and also teach soft skills, such as team effectiveness, leadership and other personal development skills, which are not in the curriculum.

Then, how does Ujali come here in your organization-connection model with the best experts?

We are a platform and what we have done is create a critical-to-quality system. We involve our trainers, who include former CEOs, professors and managers from across Europe on our platform. They can come to your business to train your managers or you can send your managers to them in Europe. We also collaborate with UK business schools to create tailored programs for businesses. In closing the skill gap, we offer quality facilitators in line with our value proposition, to ensure value for money.

Modus Operandi of Ujali:

We allow the organization to identify their skill gap and tell us what their training needs are. Our duty is to find quality facilitators and consultants who will fill that need properly.

Challenges of skill gap to organisations:

The cost is fatal and detrimental. The company will not perform optimally; and eventually die. If you have a workforce that has a deepened issue with skills, it cuts down productivity. The wider the gap, the more unproductive the workforce is. If an organization is not in tune with their needs, the competitors would take over the market. The quality of service a manager can get from their workforce depends on who is training them and who understands their lapses and knows how to fill them. If an organization approaches Ujali on team effectiveness or organizational culture, we bring in our experts in these areas to work with it. Our facilitators also offer add-on consultation services for long-term results. This means that while training, the facilitator could identify a challenge and try to address it with a tailored solution. Our training is not one off; it is a continuous improvement process.

Training cost vs. efficiency:

What we are doing is cutting costs and making them productive. The logistics of training about 100 staff abroad is humongous but Ujali could bring the quality facilitators to your business.  What this means is that the company is cutting costs to the barest minimum but the same quality of training.

Ujali’s USP:

What stands us out is that we are not a training organization; instead, we provide a platform for it to access quality facilitators in different business areas in Europe and any-where in the world. Companies already have access to some trainers in Nigeria but what Ujali has done is to broaden the accessibility to more trainers world-wide so that the organizations can make informed choices on their needs. We have trainers in business development, personal development and financial management currently.

Plans for public sector

In our target plan, we have 40 percent SMEs; 40 percent for government institutions and 20 percent for large scale businesses. This is because the government institutions are the ones that need training the most, and they are the highest procurers of training in Nigeria. But of what quality are those training and what is their impact? If they are spending a lot of money to engage in training, my advice is that they should do it well to get value and have a better workforce.

Measuring the impact

Each facilitator has their own metrics for impact measurement because they engage in follow up services. But each organization should also measure from the staff performance before and after training to ascertain the effectiveness.

Difficulties platform owners face:

We intended to be fully digitalized from the get-go with our UjaliPro platform, which allows organizations to book for facilitators remotely but they still prefer the traditional form of booking. They like holding hands. Secondly, Nigerian based organizations that are offering training here tend to look at us as competition, which we are not. Since I started, I have reached out to a number of training providers here to expand their training by using our facilitators. Our aim is to procure quality training, so if the quality trainer is in Nigeria, Ujali can have them on-boarded on the platform.

As a trainer, if you have the quality and pedigree we are looking for, we will involve you. We are not competitors to local trainers in Africa. What we are driving at is for Africa to turn out a workforce that can compete globally through accessing facilitators world-wide on our platform.

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