From education to employment


Next generation university platform equipping learners with core banking skills and career opportunities

Banking partners to access qualified talent pipeline with reduced onboarding time and hiring costs, and improved productivity

Washington, DC – May 2, 2023: Nexford University, the Washington DC-based next generation university platform offering affordable, US-accredited degrees worldwide, announces the launch of its ‘Banking Pathway Coalition’, to improve entry level talent hiring in Nigeria’s banking sector.

Via an initial partnership with the Coalition’s founding member Sterling Bank, Nigeria’s largest commercial bank, Nexford will equip learners with core banking skills via its newly launched The Language of Banking course. The partnership and banking specialization course aim to address the recruitment challenges faced by both graduates and employers and the widening skills gap in the industry. The lack of skilled graduate talent has seen banks forced to hire over-qualified employees for entry level jobs, resulting in high turnover and associated costs. With increased adoption of online banking and fintech products – which require further digital skills, the gap between what banks need and the talent supply on the market is widening even further.

Nexford aims to enroll 5000 learners in the course within the first twelve months, supported by Unify. The holistic EdTech platform for tertiary education in Nigeria will market the course to its community of higher education stakeholders, including learners and institutions. The affordable course – at US$150 – provides graduates with access to entry-level banking jobs and creates a pathway to future success. Nexford graduates enrolled in the course will be considered first by Coalition partners during recruitment for relevant roles.

Additionally, Unify has identified entry-level jobs experiencing the largest skills gaps, to ensure the course is tailored to addressing the hiring difficulties encountered by commercial and micro-finance banks. The course will leverage Unify’s expertise in career services and resources, providing learners with mentors, CV reviews, and interview preparation for banking roles – optimizing job-readiness and addressing the prevalent issues in hiring for entry-level jobs.

As a Nexford Banking Coalition partner, Sterling Bank will benefit from access to a strong pipeline of talented graduates ready to begin banking and finance careers, giving them clear recruitment advantages. As part of the collaboration, Unify has evaluated onboarding requirements from banks to inform Nexford’s course development – ensuring talent is well-versed in the training material typically taught by banks to graduate hires.  As learners graduate with solid foundations in the fundamentals and principles of finance and banking, partners will see new employee onboarding time reduced from approximately six months to just three weeks – a major cost-saving and productivity boost.

Fadl Al Tarzi, founder and CEO of Nexford University, commented:

“Nexford’s Banking Pathway Coalition is incredibly exciting. Through the Coalition, Nexford will help solve the problem of hiring qualified entry level talent in the banking industry, despite graduate unemployment in the country remaining high. Nexford’s banking focused certificate will give learners an advantage over other applicants as demand for banking jobs in Nigeria grows, setting them up for promising careers in the industry.

“We look forward to continuing to work alongside our long-term partner Sterling Bank and the other Coalition members to improve talent recruitment, create job opportunities, and push forward social and economic mobility across Nigeria.”

The announcement of the Banking Pathway Coalition follows Nexford’s ongoing partnership with Nigeria’s largest commercial bank. Since 2021, Sterling Bank has underwritten loans for Nexford learners and provided scholarships and internships during studies, and benefitted from access to graduates with skills specifically tailored to its corporate needs. 

Since inception, Sterling Bank has sponsored over 200 of its employees to upskill themselves through Nexford programs, has provided scholarships to over 1,500 Nigerian youth, and has hired as well as provided internships to dozens of Nexford Bachelor of Business Administration (“BBA”) graduates. Whilst the course is not-for-credit, BBA learners will benefit from access to the course at no additional cost upon the completion of 75% of their program, underscoring Nexford’s institutional commitment to career readiness.

Samuel Omokanye, General Manager of Unify, added:

“We are thrilled to support Nexford’s Banking Pathway Coalition. As an EdTech operating in the tertiary education space, we know how important it is for courses and programs to be tailored to the workplace.

“Identifying the operationally critical roles employers struggled to fill with entry-level talent – such as relationship managers, credit operations staff, business analysts, customer service officers, settlement and reconciliation officers, amongst others – will allow for specifically designed courses which provide learners with the skills to fill these roles from day one.

“We look forward to seeing the difference made by the graduating talent pool, and trust employers will benefit from easier recruitment and on-boarding moving forward.”

Nexford’s first Language of Banking Course will begin on 1 May 2023, with graduates completing it within eight weeks. Over the coming few months additional pathway programs will be launched to prepare Nigerians for additional jobs across the banking sector and alleviate industry-wide talent shortages. These bundles will include:

  • Language of Banking + Professional Communication
  • Language of Banking + Digital Marketing Fundamentals
  • Language of Banking + Data Analytics

Nexford also plans to launch further pathway programs covering various sectors across Africa, informed by partnerships with relevant companies and organizations. These will bring Nexford’s affordable, skills-focused, courses to even more learners across the continent; addressing talent shortages and helping reduce unemployment.

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Nexford’s tech-enabled business model delivers education efficiently and affordably without compromising on quality. Average annual tuition for a Master’s degree from Nexford costs US$2,800 – a fraction of the US national average of US$36,000. Nexford received its full, US accreditation for its courses by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission in 2023.

As well as addressing the major challenge of affordability, Nexford is committed to improving the relevance of higher education – using AI to analyze millions of job openings and design a curriculum providing learners with the skills most desired by global employers. Since inception in 2019, Nexford has offered over 100 skills-focused courses, with over 8,000 learners who have completed over 33,000 courses and 1,500 degrees.  

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