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Empowering students to succeed in a disruptive and evolving business landscape – Gulf News

Educators share their thoughts on significantly improving the employability of graduates
Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University and Director of Middlesex University Dubai
With the world demanding innovative approaches to higher education, how does Middlesex University Dubai bring advancements in teaching and learning to the UAE education community?
Middlesex University Dubai develops and continuously enhances its teaching and learning provision in line with the UK Professional Standards Framework and the latest and most innovative trends in pedagogic practice and research. We design and deliver a modern integrated curriculum that puts the students at the centre of their learning. We prepare our students to be agile and adapt to the challenges of the jobs of the future by building strong cognitive, creative and employability skills. To this aim, our lecturers attend a constantly updated Continuous Professional Development programme, and our students are supported by our Centre for Academic Success and our Careers and Employability Services, which address the needs of individual learners and fully equip them for a competitive employment market.
How are you helping students build in-demand skills for the jobs of the future?
Our faculty are highly experienced industry practitioners who bring real-world insights into the classroom, such as through guest speakers, so that our students are at the forefront of their chosen field’s latest developments. Our students can also pursue professional accreditations and internships at top companies alongside their studies. Many have also won top awards in industry competitions. Our students are trained to think critically and be lifelong learners, which prepares them to acquire new skills in the future as and when required.
Dr Frederic Bouchon, Dean, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
While it’s impossible to predict the future trends in workplace, there are certain capabilities that can help people safeguard their future careers. How are you helping students build in-demand skills for the jobs of the future?
We understand that the global changes brought by AI are disrupting many economic sectors and jobs. This is true in areas where tasks and assessments are replaced through algorithms for better value solutions. In hospitality and tourism, this is especially true for personalised services and a better understanding of the customers’ preferences.
We equip students with an understanding of the business and hospitality values, while the emphasis is on social intelligence skills, ability to assess situations and make decisions, and transferable and lifelong learning skills knowing that jobs will require constant learning.
What kind of careers will be in demand in the future?
Careers with ability to connect with people, requiring creative mindsets and enterprising spirit, will be in demand.
With courses that are forward-thinking, relevant, challenging, and rigorously assessed, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management offers an ideal blend of theory and practice, preparing students with the managerial skills and business acumen necessary for success in almost any sector. EAHM is a place where students of diverse backgrounds engage, collaborate, and grow together.
Prof. Dr Paulson Mathew Chunkapura, President and CEO, London American City College, UAE
How does London American City College bring advancements in teaching and learning in its classrooms?
London American City College (LACC) offers blended learning and 100 per cent online learning, giving students the much needed flexibility and adaptability for gaining knowledge and improving their skills.
We teach students the real life examples and current industry-based case studies such as operations of the New York Stock Exchange, the functioning of various multinational corporations such as Wal-Mart store, Microsoft Corporation, Apple and Ford Motor Corporation. Students regularly and actively participate in class discussions and seminars. Students are given up-to-date information about the functioning of the world economy and the challenges faced by the global business managers and they are also provided with concrete solutions to improve their performance as well as the performance of various organisations.
What kind of jobs will be needed in the future?
Over the past 28 years, the pace of technological progress has been remarkable, which has changed the methods of production and the organisational structures of companies. The use of robots, nano technology and other forms of computer-controlled production has changed the nature of work for many workers. It has also created a wide range of new opportunities for businesses. The revolution in the IT sector is allowing for rapid and improved communication, making it possible for employees to do their jobs from home and even while travelling. Technology-based careers will be in great demand in the UAE in the coming years.
Meghavi Banerjee, Director — Strategic Alliances, Lincoln University of Business and Management
What has changed in your course content since the outbreak of the pandemic to prepare learners for the post-Covid-19 workforce scenarios?
The courses that we offer are extremely agile. When we went into a lockdown in March 2020, we were delivering the module of Business Strategy. We went into serious training and adapted the delivery to suit live online classes. The faculty and academic team came up with breakout rooms to replicate classroom discussions as in a real class. Several videos, online forums, quizzes on Kahoot, and one on one tutor support were extended to make sure that students learning outcomes were being met and enhanced.
How are you helping students build in-demand skills for the jobs of the future?
While it may be impossible to predict precisely what skills will be in demand, some skills and a positive attitude will always stay on top of the list such as communication and interpersonal skills, project management, time and task management, language ability, leadership, and the ability to take decisions in ambiguity. As per a KPMG report, technical automation and adoption will impact the demand and supply of talent.
Dr James Trotter, Dean and Academic President, Murdoch University Dubai
With the world demanding innovative approaches to higher education, how does Murdoch Dubai bring advancements in teaching and learning to the UAE education community?
At Murdoch University Dubai, 90 per cent of our full-time faculty have fellowship of the Advance HE and over 50 per cent of our part-time faculty have fellowship of the Advance HE. Our teaching staff truly embody our lifelong learning philosophy. We also introduced hybrid delivery wherein we upgraded technology in the classroom, trained all teaching staff and delivered a seamless, teaching experience both online and face-to-face.
How are you helping students build in-demand skills for the jobs of the future?
As per the World Economic Forum 2020, critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills that employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years. We also think communication and adaptability are going to be crucial skills to develop for successful careers in the near future. At Murdoch University, our students start thinking and working towards employability from day one, rather than their third year. We have mandatory units each trimester through our Career Learning Spine that focus on developing these skills of the future. We also offer one on one support through our dedicated Career Support Officer.
Orsi Urban, Manager–COOP and Career Services
How does RIT Dubai prepare learners to deal with career and life challenges?
At RIT Dubai, students understand that their university experience is an accelerator, and an integral part of their lifelong learning journey. Beyond the curricular courses and internships, students adopt a proactive and growth mindset, which allows them to tackle career and life challenges, in an agile yet considerate, respectful and strategic manner. For example, to foster this approach, students will continuously be immersed in the design thinking methodology in different courses. In turn, students and alumni cultivate innovation as part of their work and career readiness – that can be flexibly applied across industries and functions.
The Covid-19 experience has dramatically transformed the way education is delivered. In this scenario, how could universities prepare learners for careers of the future?
Covid-19 propelled our lives, including careers, into the future. RIT students, thanks to the mindset they have, will be able to take advantage of these shifts. They actively participate in creating the future they envision for themselves, let it be as employees, entrepreneurs, consultants, researchers, or a mix of these roles. As we believe, the best way to predict the future is to create it, and we are excited to see our students and graduates shape our shared future for the better.
Tarun Jain, Founder & Managing Director, World Academy of Design
How are you helping students develop necessary skills to succeed in the future job market?
Jobs in the future will depend more on communication skills rather than education. Since most industries are moving to virtual world and digital systems, demand for work from home, screen sharing, distant monitoring, distant trouble shooting, and distant marketing will rise. Adapting to technology and unmonitored working needs more dedication, punctuality and hard work.
What kind of careers will be in demand in the future?
Freelancing is the future of work. Full time, 9 to 5 jobs, will be out of trend and specialisation will be in demand. A specialist who is available online, equipped with in-demand skills and can offer quality service, will be successful. It’s critical for students to focus on one subject and specialise in the field with full dedication. Next, explore how you can provide your services digitally. These are the things you need to succeed.
Hanil Haridas, Executive Director, Westford University College
How much is technology going to be a part of tomorrow’s jobs and how can universities adapt to the future of work?
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, 42 per cent of the core skills required to perform a job will change in the next two years. At Westford, we have identified these changes and aim to make our students corporate ready. To accomplish these goals, we, at Westford, have various initiatives to enhance students’ performances such as WeConnect with business leaders, WeTalk, mentorship and entrepreneurial programmes, postgraduate diploma in career development and business etiquettes, Chartered Management Institute (CMI) programme and many more, to bridge the industry-academia gap and prepare the students for the future workplace.
How are you preparing students for the complex world of work?
Technological advancements are expected to grow rapidly. The world will witness an accelerated growth in the fields of blockchain, AI, gaming and virtual reality amongst others. As educators, our role is to equip, prepare and empower our students to perform in such a changing and volatile environment. When a student graduates from Westford, they not only receive their graduate certificate but also recognised certificates in various other fields like career progression, corporate readiness, research skills, application know-how, entrepreneurial skills and more. Hence, every initiative taken by Westford is carefully designed to prepare our students for the jobs of the future.
Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Deputy Vice Principal (Academic Leadership), Heriot-Watt University Dubai
With the world demanding innovative approaches to higher education, how does Heriot-Watt Dubai bring advancements in teaching and learning to the UAE education community?
Heriot-Watt University is a truly global institution, delivering higher level education across five campuses in three countries (UK, UAE and Malaysia) and was therefore very well prepared for the challenges of the last year.
We have a Responsive Blending Learning (RBL) approach that supports students to collaborate across campuses, and even to make and retain friends from all over the globe. This approach offers students the best of both the online and offline worlds. And as we all already know, networks are incredibly important for career progression, entrepreneurship, and personal development.
How much is technology going to be a part of tomorrow’s jobs and how can universities adapt to the future of work?
Advances in technology will be key to supporting economic success. Universities play a key role in providing graduates with the future skills to develop, lead and embed technologies within business and industry.
Technology is especially important as we expect the future careers to be more competitive than ever, employing rapid growth in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Internet of Things. Universities need to be fully engaged with the jobs market to understand the technical and soft skills in demand and support the current and future workforce with their job prospects.

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