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Dubai Knowledge Park and City & Guilds share insights on future-proofing global industries at 2nd annual I-UP Forum

Industry and University Partnerships (I-UP) Forum provides regional platform for the launch of the first-ever City & Guilds global Skills Confidence Report

I-UP ForumDubai, UAE: Leading educators, businesses and key stakeholders convened in Dubai to discuss the importance of ensuring that industries and their employees are up to speed with the ways in which workplaces are modernising and the need to better prepare for the future, at the 2016 Industry and University Partnership (I-UP) Forums hosted by Dubai Knowledge Park, a member of TECOM Group.

The Forum provided a platform for the regional launch of City & Guilds’ 2016 Skills Confidence Report, which measured how relevant employees in developed and emerging economies feel their skills are today, and over the next decade. The in-depth study of 8,000 senior managers and employees was unveiled during the Forum in partnership with City & Guilds at an event entitled ‘Supporting the UAE’s Future Skills Needs: Improving Skills Today for Tomorrow’, and follows a World Economic Forum study that ranked the UAE as the best emerging market for millennials to advance their skills-sets and careers.

Reflecting on the implications of the City & Guilds study for the region and the importance of the I-UP Forum, Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director at Dubai Knowledge Park said: “It is only with a clear picture of the challenges of meeting future skills needs, that an economy can adapt its human capital infrastructure to ensure it is prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Our support for international research, and efforts to expand the I-UP Forum to a series of recurring events throughout the year, demonstrates a commitment and willingness to share and learn from global expertise on key issues that will redefine the working environment and the skills required for success. In collaborating with City & Guilds and sharing the latest research findings on the global trends that are affecting skills and employment, our aim remains to enable the UAE to achieve its ambitious economic growth agenda.”

The City & Guilds report urges public and private sector leaders to invest in training initiatives that empower employees to create positive change, and suggests economies that aren’t prepared for the future, risk exacerbating their skills gaps and productivity – both of which can significantly impact on future growth. Despite this warning, findings from the study revealed the majority of employees around the world feel their skills will remain relevant and in many cases, are under being utilised.
One of the major macro-economic challenges this mismatch between trends and perceptions among employees presents, is that without a skilled workforce businesses could struggle to compete in the global market. The international study has particular relevance to the UAE, as a destination with an 85 percent expatriate population and aggressive agenda to support technical training, enhance its influence in the world economy and the employability of its citizens.

Key findings from the report, with findings taken from UK, US, India and South Africa, include:

  • 95% of all respondents are confident in their own skills and productivity
  • 86% of respondents think their skills will be relevant in ten years’ time
  • 17% do not think there are any threats that could stop their skills from being relevant
  • 80% are confident that their job will exist in ten years’ time
  • More than half (52%) believe they are over-qualified for the job they currently do and more than a quarter (29%) feel as though their skills are being under-utilised by their employers
  • 70% of CEOs and senior leaders agree that automation and artificial intelligence could replace a number of jobs in their organisation in ten years’ time, compared to 53% of general employees

The launch event was attended by over 100 experts and professionals from universities, industries and government departments, including panelists Dr. Naji AlMahdi, Chief of Qualifications and Awards at the UAE Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Professor Barry O’Mahony, Dean of the Faculty of Business at the University of Wollongong Dubai, Mohammad Shadid, Chief Executive Officer at Connec ME Education, and Kamal Ben Selama, General Education Expert at the National Qualifications Authority. The event was moderated by Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director at City & Guilds, who spoke at lengh about the need to address global skills gaps.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director of City & Guilds added: “From the increasing automation of tasks, through to the rapid rise in flexible and intergenerational working, it is clear that the world of work is changing. What’s also evident is that skills gaps are a global problem and affect many different industries and job levels. Yet as our research shows, the workforce seems to be living in ignorant bliss about their skills and job security. It’s vital that everyone, wherever they are working in the world, understands the skills needed to succeed in the workplace, today and in the future. Leaders also need to plan ahead and invest in the right training initiatives to support their employees to develop their skills for the future. Otherwise, this false confidence could lead to skills gaps continuing to increase, productivity continuing to stagnate, and businesses struggling to compete in the global market.”

The I-UP Forums are aimed at bringing together professionals from universities, industry, and the government departments to discuss emerging and future trends; develop partnerships, research, and business development opportunities. This event is the second edition of the I-UP Forums for 2016, and are part of a series of initiatives hosted by Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park that aim to align education, industry and government sectors as they tackle crucial issues across the region.

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For more information and media requests:

Edelman PR for Dubai Knowledge Park
Latifah Rahmdel | Latifah.rahmdel@edelman.com | +971(0)56 547 1435

About Dubai Knowledge Park
Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP) is a premier destination in the region dedicated to Human Resource Management and Consulting, Vocational Training, Executive Search and Professional Development. DKP was established in 2003, as a member of TECOM Group, to support the Government of Dubai’s vision to transform Dubai into a knowledge-based economy and develop the region’s talent pool.

With over 500 business partners, including SHRM, CEB-SHL, Towers Watson, CIPD, Hays, Carmichael Fisher and Innovative HR Solutions, DKP aims to establish itself as both a trusted business partner and a centre of excellence for professional development.

With the provision of quality training institutes and recruitment consultancy firms, DKP is helping to meet the needs of business by offering required training and skills development programs to professionals and by providing a home of recruiters who will then match these new skills with employers.

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