How UAE universities are preparing students for the careers of tomorrow – Gulf News

Students are now looking for programmes that enhance their employability after graduation
The fourth industrial revolution and the Covid-19 pandemic have radically altered the ways companies operate and recruit their workforce to thrive in the future world of work.
Recent research by the McKinsey Global Institute highlights that the need for manual and physical skills, as well as basic cognitive ones, will decline, but demand for technological, social and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow. A study by the US-based Institute for the Future estimates that around 85 per cent of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. This will require tomorrow’s graduates to have the appropriate skills to continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations as well as the ability to retrain themselves throughout their careers.
Universities in the UAE have taken a proactive approach to navigating the future labour market, offering degrees and courses that help learners to develop skills and attitude to succeed in this new age of work. Supporting the UAE’s National Strategy for Higher Education 2030, which emphasises the need to provide the future generations with the necessary technical and practical skills to drive the economy in both public and private sectors, universities have also implemented a teaching strategy that encourages challenge-driven learning.
“It is clear that career opportunities are awaiting those who adapt to technological changes and are successful in managing these changes,” says Dr K. Kumar, Associate Dean, Academic — Undergraduate Studies, BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus.
“The field of engineering and technology has seen an upsurge due to the increased dependency and redefined scope in the post-Covid era. Employers are looking for engineers with specific knowledge and skill set in the areas of AI, machine learning, data science, data analytics, software development, supply chain and logistics with comprehensive managerial abilities.”
BITS Pilani, Dubai has introduced engineering minors that allow a student to gain interdisciplinary experience and exposure to concepts and perspectives, widening their understanding of the profession and the issues that impact engineers. “Students at BITS Pilani Dubai can choose from a broad array of minor options ranging from finance, materials science and engineering, data science, entrepreneurship, aeronautics, robotics and automation.”
The new normal in a post-Covid world will be far more tech-driven, says Hameed Al Obaidi, Senior Admissions Counsellor, RIT Dubai. “Our relationships with technology will deepen as larger segments of the population come to rely more on digital connections for work, education, healthcare, daily commercial transactions and essential social interactions.”
“Gaining an understanding of computing security, information technologies and software engineering equips our students with the invaluable skill set needed to give them an edge in today’s job market. These future-ready programmes alongside crucial practical experience, provide the ultimate toolkit our students need to gear up for the dynamic future.”
Curtin University’s Dubai campus also offers a host of future-ready courses in engineering business and IT.
“Engineering is the future,” says Daniel Adkins, Group CEO of Transnational Academic Group, Curtin University’s Education Management Services Provider and lead facilitator for Immersion programmes. “Whether it is building new cities to house the additional two billion people who will be alive by 2050, developing solutions to deal with the impacts of climate change, or creating the technology that will carry all of us into the future, engineering is the key. Our mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering programmes are preparing graduates to build the world of the future.”
Another fastest-growing area in the IT sector and for businesses worldwide is cybersecurity, says Adkins. “The past two years have seen the largest number of cyber attacks in history, and companies have realised the importance of cybersecurity regardless of their industry. Our Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity prepares students to step into this highly in-demand field.”
Right up there in terms of future-ready degrees is Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Dubai. “We are constantly looking to upgrade our portfolio with industry-relevant programmes to ensure the best offerings for our students, both at the undergraduate and the postgraduate level,” says Dr Jason Fitzsimmons, Academic President, MAHE Dubai.
“In line with the demands of the evolving space of IT and trending fields of data science and internet security, we recently launched programmes in BTech in Data Science and Engineering, and PG Diploma in Cybersecurity. Humanities, Social Sciences and Psychology have become more relevant than ever in the current times. Our new offerings in BSc and MSc in Applied Psychology will help students fill various skill gaps in this field. We have also added to our portfolio the exciting programmes of BDes in Fashion Design and MA in Fashion Management. These programmes, together with a myriad of short-term certification courses, will offer our students specific choices to suit their interests and be ready for these careers of tomorrow.” ■

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