Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

Emirati minister warns of 'dire need' to match education with job market

UAE launches a project with the World Economic Forum to close the skills gap

Strata Manufacturing, a unit of Mubadala Investment Company, has delivered its first shipset of empennage ribs for Boeing's 777X. Courtesy: Strata Manufacturing
Strata Manufacturing, a unit of Mubadala Investment Company, has delivered its first shipset of empennage ribs for Boeing's 777X. Courtesy: Strata Manufacturing

An Emirati minister has warned there is a "dire need" to match education with the job market, as technological changes risk making many young people's qualifications obsolete.

Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, announced a nationwide programme to close the skills gap.

The project is in partnership with the World Economic Forum, which held its annual Global Future Councils meeting in Dubai this week.

“One of the biggest challenges ahead is that 35 per cent of skills required across different sectors will change by 2020,” Dr Al Falasi said.

"There is a dire need to align current education and training systems with the requirements of the labour market, which continues to see major changes driven by technological and demographic factors, as well as shifts in business models and job descriptions."

The UAE Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Programme will help Emiratis to develop the skills required to fill future jobs and keep pace with rapid transformations in the labour market.

It will bring about 100 government departments and private companies together to look at how learning can be better matched to the jobs available, the government said.

It will look closely at whether young people are studying the right subjects and taking relevant degrees to secure employment.

“Advancing Emiratisation efforts is hugely contingent on the need to develop the skills of Emiratis," Dr Al Falasi said.

“We must develop their abilities and empower them to fill jobs in the labour market.

Higher education minister Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi speaks at the World Economic Forum meeting in Dubai on Monday. Courtesy: WEF Global Future Councils
Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, speaks at the World Economic Forum meeting in Dubai on Monday. Courtesy: WEF Global Future Councils

“The energy, retail, and financial sectors are the pillars of the UAE’s economy. They offer thousands of job opportunities and are expected to offer even more in the future.

"These sectors are also undergoing major expansions."

Senior ministers have increasingly urged young people to challenge themselves and look to skilled-based degrees and more demanding jobs in the private sector.

The key focus of the government's long-running Emiratisation drive is to place more citizens into private sector companies, where only a few per cent work.

Among the key figures on the jobs programme are: Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chief executive of the Adnoc Group; Nasser Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation; Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs; Alain Bejjani, chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim; and Hana Al Rostamani, head of personal banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Updated: November 4, 2019 11:32 PM

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