First of its kind event brings together key industries, academia, and government to discuss the need for a skilled workforce to support the growth of the UAE economy
Dubai, UAE: Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV), members of TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster, hosted the first Industry and University Partnerships Forum (I-UP) at Dubai Knowledge Village, bringing together professionals from universities, industry, government departments, and education consultants to discuss potential collaborations, partnerships, research, and business development in an effort to further develop the regional education sector.
The forum featured a series of panel discussions that includes representatives from academic institutions in Dubai as well as leaders from industry sectors, including: Hospitality & Tourism, Islamic Finance, Education, Transport & Logistics, ICT, Healthcare, Energy and Construction, and Real Estate. The high-profile speakers included representatives from Atlantis Kerzner Group, IBM, Aramex, Dubai Healthcare City, Oracle, The British University in Dubai, NATS, Middlesex University Dubai, Zayed University, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and many more.
DIAC and DKV developed I-UP to provide a platform for discussions that allow universities to interact with industry professionals, introduce new educational programmes that fill the skill gaps identified in a number of key industries. Instigating these conversations will ensure the education sector advances in line with driving the vision of Dubai becoming a leading world-class education destination.
The first I-UP forum will be developed into an annual event series designed to continue collaboration in order to drive innovation and maintain sustainable economic growth, enable dialogue and drive research looking into the link between academia and contribution to GDP. The forum was also assembled to help to facilitate a greater number of internships through inspiring more career fairs and related employment events that connect students to future employers.
The overall outcome of the event was unanimous agreement that more needs to be done to bridge the gap between academia and industry in order for the UAE to achieve its economic potential. Whilst the country is home to a wide range of skilled individuals, the key to unlocking further and sustainable growth is the development and retention of talent. All of the panelists agreed that in today’s increasingly global economy, nurturing a pool of well-educated workers able to perform complex tasks and adapt rapidly to their changing environment is vital for overall country-level competitiveness.
The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) report by the World Economic Forum placed the UAE 6th in terms of ‘Quality Higher Education and Training’, ahead of traditional economic hubs such as UK, USA and Australia, it was also ranked 24th for innovation in the report, clearly demonstrating how far the UAE has come in becoming a true hub for higher education.
Minutes from each session will be made available to the general public in December adhering to DIAC’s goal to share information with all stakeholder communities in order to help initiate and drive collaboration.
Fatma Al Marri, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said: “The Industry & University Partnership Forum provides an excellent opportunity for educators and the industry to network and understand the needs of tomorrow’s human capital, as well as build partnerships to ensure skills and knowledge being taught today match the expectations of tomorrow’s employers. KHDA wholly supports the development of international and local talent to bridge the gap between the students of now and industry leaders of the future.”
Professor Ammar Kaka from Heriot Watt University said “Professor Ammar Kaka from Heriot Watt University said “I very much enjoyed being part of the panel at DIAC’s and DKV’s inaugural forum. This event provides an opportunity for the industry to increase their dialogue with universities for better business growth opportunities, job creation and overall economic impact on the UAE Economy. If we are able to continue this discussion, over time we will be able to bridge the gap between the various sectors of society to help UAE grow in an innovative, dynamic fashion.”
Hemel Shar, Oracle commented “IT infrastructure plays a vital role in UAE’s economy, and Oracle has designed a range of products to meet the needs of a wide number of the country’s rapidly-growing industry sectors. Bringing together stakeholders from every aspect of the economy is an innovative and crucial step in the evolution of the economy from the green shoots of growth, into strong and sustainable growth.”