Abu Dhabi: To equip up to 35 per cent of Abu Dhabi's university students to meet workforce requirements by 2025, is an ambitious target that requires careful management.

Professor Ken Mayhew, professor of education and economic performance at Oxford University, spoke at a lecture organised by the UAE University (UAEU) last week. He presented a study on diversifying the economy through maintaining a balance between academic and vocational education.

To meet its 2030 economic vision, he said the emirate should significantly enhance its performance in the diversification of output, developing a knowledge based economy and stimulating the private SME sector.

Learning from others

Mayhew focused his lecture on the necessity to better equip the youth for entry into the labour force and reducing unemployment and inactivity among Emiratis. He also touched on increasing the presence of women in the labour force as well as increasing higher education offerings throughout the emirate and establishing world class research clusters.

"I am attempting to evaluate the lessons Abu Dhabi might learn from other countries, including trying to diversify their production and move towards a knowledge/high value-added economy," Mayhew said. He added that moving towards a knowledge-based economy what the capital is already working towards.

"I am suggesting authorities do their best to explicitly link industrial and educational strategies to carefully manage ambitious futuristic targets regarding tertiary, secondary, and primary education," he told Gulf News. The lecture was delivered as part of a knowledge-sharing agreement between the two institutions.