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Leading business experts discuss creating a sustainable future for young talent at AUS Careers Forum
Leading industry experts and business leaders gathered to discuss creating a sustainable future for young talent, empowering youth, and unlocking the nation’s potential at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) Careers Forum held yesterday, March 15.
Inaugurated by Dr. Susan Mumm, AUS Chancellor, the event hosted various panel discussions featuring industry leaders and experts from the government and private sectors. H.E. Mohammed Al Musharrakh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah) and AUS alumnus, gave the inaugural speech, noting the importance of preparing the youth for the future.
“The UAE is a country that has been steadily investing in its youth and rightly so, as the youth are the largest demographic. Unlocking their vast potential is key for the future of our economy. This is where universities, such as AUS, can play a critical role by helping bridge the gap and skills and aligning it with innovation. Great institutions can prepare the workforce of the future,” he said.
The event included three main discussion panels featuring leading keynote speakers and participants from industry and academia. It also included an employer information session on summer internships and graduate opportunities led by Rashed Alsadiq, Human Resources Director at Procter & Gamble and AUS alumnus.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairman of MBF Group and AUS alumnus said, “I encourage students to follow their dreams and go after what they are passionate about. Our great country encourages innovation, and this can only happen when we think differently. Pursuing your interests drives innovation and leads to a successful and fulfilling career.”
A fireside chat on “Future Trends: Digitization and Its Impact on Employment” was also held between H.E. Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director, Sharjah Digital Office and AUS alumnus; and Mr. Thomas Jepsen, President International, Symplicity Corporation
Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Digital Office, highlighted the need for businesses to develop a framework of action to prepare tomorrow’s workforce with the skills of the future:
"With current leaps in technology, government entities and companies need to rethink workflow, workforce and workplace requirements to take advantage of emerging technologies. Governments can also play a key role in building a solid, incentivized infrastructure that facilitates the transformation process and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.”
He added: “Today’s students will be called upon to engineer imaginative solutions to solve tomorrow’s complex problems. The job market is changing rapidly; as new sectors emerge, we need new skill sets as well.”
As technological and digital transformations have changed the fundamentals of work and widened the skills gap, a discussion panel was held to analyze the right decisions educational institutions, business leaders, students and alumni need to make in developing the skills of the future to succeed in the job market.
Ghada Abdelkader, Senior Vice President at CE-Invests, gave the panel’s keynote speech, highlighting the impact of technological advances on youth labor markets: “More than 50 percent of all employees around the world will need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace the new responsibilities driven by new technologies, according to the World Economic Forum. The path forward must see a collaboration between all involved stakeholders, especially between industry and academia, to equip young people with the tools and skills that will enable them to thrive, in the workplace and beyond it.”
Moderated by Dimitris Tsouroplis, Human Resources Director at Crescent Enterprises, the panel saw the participation of Siladitya Bandyopadhyay, Vice President of Analytics and Insights at Procter & Gamble; Kerem Cengiz, Managing Director at LWK+PARTNERS; Christopher Cook, Managing Director at A.P. Moller – Maersk; and Belgin Ertam, Vice President of Human Resources at MENAT.
With changes in the employment landscape affecting the future of different types of jobs and skills, there are many trends that can help predict the type of jobs that will be in demand. The second panel discussion focused on the future of training systems, such as internships and co-op programs, and the role of educational institutions and employers in creating the right environment for the skills development of future graduates.
Dr. Juan Sanchez, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at AUS, gave the second panel’s keynote speech on the future of the educational system in response to the changing environment. This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by David Lumsdon, Middle East Regional Manager at Symplicity Corporation, with the participation of David Casey, Expert Advisor at UAE University; Kylie Elbert, Director of Graduate Success at Macquarie University in Sydney; and Abdelrahman Al Jahoushi, Employability and Industry Engagement Director at the Higher Colleges of Technology.
The third panel discussion focused on utilizing technologies to enhance student engagement and graduate outcomes. It featured senior representatives from USA and UAE discussing how they have embraced technology to help guide their student towards increased engagement, improved experience and better outcomes. Panelists were Dr. Emanuel (Manny) Contomanolis, Director of the Office of Career Services at Harvard University; Mohamed Yassine Otmani, Career Services Manager at AUS; and Michael Rjeily, Senior Manager – Employability at HCT. The panel was moderated by Khaled Chebat, Regional Vice President of International Strategy at Symplicity.
“This forum is a key event for AUS because it bridges the gap between academia and industry. We value this very highly because it connects preeminent corporate leaders with our students and alumni, who we consider are the region’s brightest talents. It also provides our students with an opportunity to listen to experts discuss future business trends, technological innovations, and industrial challenges, as well as ways to meet them successfully,” said Chancellor Mumm.
The Careers Forum will be followed by a two-day Career Fair, which will begin today, March 16 with an in-person event on campus designed to connect students and recent alumni with potential employers. The fair will conclude on March 17 with a virtual Career Fair. To learn more about the AUS Careers Forum and Career Fair, visit www.aus.edu/cf2022.
The AUS Careers Forum and Career Fair are sponsored by Platinum and Institutional Advancement Sponsors ADNOC, Bee’ah, Crescent Petroleum, Monitor Deloitte, EMAAR and Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC); Gold Sponsors Maersk and P&G; Silver Sponsors DMCC, EDGE and National Food Product Company (NFPC); Bronze Sponsors Al Futtaim, Amazon, Baker Hughes, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Henkel, L’Oréal Middle East and Transmed; Event Strategic Partner Crescent Enterprises; and Event Technology Partner Symplicity.