Accelerating your skills: Post grad programs in Africa

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said that the only constant in life is change. The world is always changing and with that people continuously need to change, progress and upgrade several aspects of their lives to keep up and stay relevant. The world of work is no different from this. New skills are needed every day and even for current and transferable skill sets, there is always a need to advance and do things better and differently.

The world of work in Africa is no different from this. With its workforce growing every year, the need for change is greater; the need to push oneself and stay relevant in the world of work on the continent is greater than in others. With a lot of youths graduating from university every year, only a few who have the niche in their field make it into entry level jobs. This is one of the reasons many Africans have ventured into entrepneurship, leveraging the social, digital and economic transformations of the 21 st Century to create employment opportunities for themselves and others whether at a small or large scale.

However, be it entrepneurs or those currently employed, navigating the highs and lows of running a startup or world of work is never easy. With the shift to a more skills driven approach in work and business, the need for talent with ethical leadership and entrepneurial skills has risen. Incubators, Hubs, Accelerators and other upskilling platforms are now coming up to fill this gap. These platforms offer the opportunity to gain skills, resources and powerful networks that can boost one's career or venture. Some of these platforms in Africa include ALX and MEST.


MEST is one of the earliest tech incubators in Africa, having started as an entrepneurial school in Accra, Ghana, in 2008. MEST is part of Meltwater, the global social media monitoring firm that was itself a notable startup. Hubs are located in Accra, Lagos, Cape Town, and Nairobi.

The MEST Training Program is a 12-month, full time, fully sponsored program in which the cohort – known as Entrepneurs-in-Training (EITs) – complete a graduate-level course in software development, business, and communications, with a focus on practical implementation. Each year for the past 11 years, MEST has welcomed over 50 individuals from across Africa for the EIT. These individuals have teamed-up, pitched for seed funding, and gone on to create globally competitive companies that solve pssing problems across many sectors. As of 2019, Over 400 entrepneurs have been trained through this program.

The MEST program provides rigorous entrepneurial training and extensive hands-on project work, designed to ensure EITs master industry-proven methodologies for developing startups. This coursework is supplemented by a series of guest lectures, bringing in the experiences and insights of internationally-recognized executives and successful entrepneurs.


ALX is a part of the African Leadership Group ecosystem that is transforming Africa by developing and connecting a new generation of ethical and entrepneurial leaders.

One of ALX’s two signature programs, the Launchpad is a 6 month intensive program for high-potential graduates or young career-starting leaders. The program unlocks potential and launches careers, by developing 21st century skills and mindsets in young leaders, and supporting them with an impactful network. During the program, young leaders gain real world experience, build a holistic character, and take ownership of their own career.

The course is organised around 8 core skills for the future; self leadership, people leadership, systems leadership, critical thinking, effective communication, data based decision making, planning & execution and innovation & entrepneurship.

The second of ALX’s signature programs, the Xcelerator draws upon 15 years of the African Leadership Group’s experience delivering transformative learning to executives, managers, and students, the six-month, part-time program is designed to help rising professionals fulfil their leadership potential and drive their businesses forward. It is a part time program with 2 days of in-person intensives each month for the duration of the six month program. In between these intensives, the participants apply the tools and frameworks they have learned in their workplace

By Ziithe Ewen Hiwa

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