Gulf News Edufair has welcomed over 4,000 visitors over three days Video Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

Rapid advances in technology, the public embrace of a physical world and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have radically transformed the ways businesses function and the skills they look for in the workforce of the future. Educators and industry experts at Gulf News Edufair – which drew over 4,000 visitors to the show over three days – charted the pathways to stay relevant amid disruptive technological changes while highlighting the new areas of skills and career opportunities to help learners future-proof their academic life.

“New technologies, such as ChatGPT, are exciting but scary. While they are revolutionizing some sectors, they are eliminating millions of jobs,” says Daniel Adkins, Group CEO of Transnational Academic Group, Management Service Provider of Curtin University Dubai.

“Some educational disciplines are going to disappear within the next 10 years, and new careers and opportunities will open up that haven’t even been thought about yet. This will require students to pick up new skills to secure their long-term career growth.”

Develop your skills

As the nature of careers are changing fast, employers have started to look beyond university degrees while hiring staff.

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Along with subject knowledge, students must develop negotiation and presentation skills, leadership, team-building abilities, time management skills and emotional intelligence to keep pace with the changing demand of the workplace.

“Students must understand that graduate degrees are not enough. They have to develop necessary skill sets to gain an edge in the job market,” says Mario Fonseka, Dean, Business Studies, University of Bolton.

“Being able to present yourself well, speak eloquently, and have cultural intelligence in a diverse workspace are skills that all employers look for,” says Fazeela Gopalani, Head of ACCA Middle East, ACCA.

The key for mid-career professionals, according to experts, is to pursue courses that can help them bridge the gap between what they learnt as a student and the latest developments in the industry.

“It’s very important to be able to throw out what you thought was true in the past, and learn what’s new,” says Adkins.

Learn how to learn

Educators advised students to develop a willingness to learn and continually sharpen their skills to keep pace with the changes in the world of work. “Employers are more interested in recruiting staff with the right attitude than just with degrees and qualifications. Embracing the willingness to learn is crucial to success in this rapidly changing world of technology,” says Adkins.

Universities must innovate and change the way they teach

To enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning, higher education institutions must embrace more opportunities for collaboration with industry, experts at GN Edufair highlighted.

“It’s critical for universities to engage with the corporate sector and incorporate their inputs while designing the programmes. To bridge the disconnect between the real world and academia, universities must recruit instructors who possess industry experience. They can also hire industry experts as adjunct faculty to augment faculty resources and student learning,” Fonseka adds.

With inputs from Divya Kumar, Special to Gulf News