National Programme for Advanced Skills launches ‘UAE Closing Skills Gap Accelerator Programme’

DUBAI, The National Programme for Advanced Skills has launched the ‘UAE Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Program’, which aims to help Emirati nationals develop the skills required to fill future jobs and keep pace with rapid transformations in the labour market.

The Accelerator Programme is designed to facilitate the exchange of expertise and identify the latest global trends in terms of skills. It then goes on to develop innovative mechanisms and tools that align with the requirements of the UAE’s labour market, with the objective of arming community members with the skills they will need in different economic sectors.

The UAE Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Programme is chaired by Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills. It brings together a list of prominent members, namely, Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, ADNOC Group CEO; Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Chairperson of the Federal Youth Authority; Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding Group; and Hana Al Rostamani, Group Head of Personal Banking at the First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Falasi said: “The launch of the UAE Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Program answers clear directives from the UAE leadership to produce tangible results in terms of equipping all members of the community with the skills they will need to address the challenges of the future. It is in line with the strategy of the National Program for Advanced Skills, and consists of a set of business models that we will develop with our key partners to fulfil the requirements of local labour market, meet the aspirations of the Emirati people, and enable the UAE to remain ahead of rapid technological advancements and economic transformations.”

“One of the biggest challenges ahead is that 35% of skills required across different sectors will change by 2020,” he added.

“Additionally, 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. This calls for developing new mechanisms to bridge the skills gap in the community, allowing individuals to excel in vital sectors in the UAE, now and in the future.”

Al Falasi asserted that the partnerships established as part of the program seek to promote the exchange of expertise and reimagine the way accelerators are designed, in order for them to truly be able to equip community members with skills required in the sectors that drive the local economy and make up the bulk of the local labour market.

“Advancing Emiratisation efforts is hugely contingent on the need to develop the skills of Emiratis,” he explained. “We must develop their abilities and empower them to fill jobs in the labour market. The Accelerator Program focuses on all segments of the community and particularly the youth, who form the largest group, and are flexible and eager to continuously develop their skills in various fields.”

“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, in line with the UAE’s economic directions and development goals,” Al Falasi said.

“I look forward to establishing more partnerships in the upcoming period that will help achieve significant progress in our journey to promote advanced skills among the people of the UAE.”

Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli said: “Launching the UAE Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Program is in line with the UAE’s national vision and forward-thinking future plans, which prioritise the youth and call for qualifying them and arming them with the skills and knowledge they need to play an effective role in shaping the future and leading key economic sectors. The Program is a prominent instrument allowing us to prepare for the challenges of the future, to empower the community and particularly young Emiratis, and promote the skills necessary for the jobs of the future in light of rapid technological advancement � especially in the sectors most vital in the UAE.”

“The UAE labour market reflects the economic diversification that is paving the way for a competitive knowledge economy in the UAE, on par with global economic developments. This transformation will have a direct impact on the job market, ushering in new types of employment that call for advanced skills, and making it essential that we develop the skills and abilities of the national workforce to be able to compete in an open global market where major companies compete to attract talent,” Al Hamli explained, expressing his confidence that the outcomes of the Accelerator Program will empower its target demographic to develop the right skills to remain competitive and efficiently perform the jobs of the future.

Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrui said: “The Accelerator program is an important step that will help us nurture an Emirati workforce that is resilient and anti-fragile. One that is prepared to keep up with the changing demands of the labour market and technological disruption.”

“It is important to always view youth not just as recipients, but as active designers in these very initiatives. I look forward to working alongside the co-chairs of this program to meaningfully integrate the voice, ideas and solutions of youth as we are co-creating for a sustainable and prosperous future for all. “The partnership with WEF, and the public-private sector collaboration on this program will effectuate positive change and create better opportunities for our youth”.

Alain Bejjani commented: “Our world is changing in ways that have never been witnessed before and the ‘future of work’ is the area that will likely be most impacted. The UAE’s commitment to closing the skills gap through its accelerator program is most inspiring. This is one more step by the country’s leadership to improve the state of the world”.

Hana Al Rostamani stated that: “This programme, aimed at closing skill gaps in the market, serves as a key initiative to support UAE nationals and to provide them with the skills and knowledge required to excel in the workforce and to meet the evolving need of the marketplace. Through forming a network by joining efforts with notable local and international parties, the programme aims to create solutions and mechanisms to build future leaders that can take up leading positions in new sectors and fields. It focuses on all stages of development, from education and training to ultimately creating inspiring and motivational careers, which will inevitably play a key role in supporting the UAE’s overall economic growth”.

The UAE Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Program is built around two main pillars. The first calls for creating national and international platforms to highlight the skills gap, and then formulate new business models and practical tools to steer education and training in line with future changes. The second pillar is collaboration between the government and private sectors, as well as civil society and education and training institutions in the UAE, to establish a comprehensive vision to close the skills gap in the community. This would entail advanced training programmes, managed by leading business experts and certified trainers from around the world, and targeting various segments of the community.

The Accelerator Program also aims to explore international skill-building initiatives and experiences, and their role in achieving tangible personal and professional results in the community. Furthermore, it strives to attract over 100 government entities and private companies, in addition to policymakers and academics, to set a vision and strategies to achieve the program’s targets. These individuals and organisations will also participate in the Accelerator’s events and activities, bringing their diverse expertise to help identify the skills community members will need to meet the requirements of the future.

Source: Emirates News Agency