In a milestone event for the United Arab Emirates, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has announced the inauguration of specialized Sector Skills Academies (SSA) in a triangular partnership with 16 private corporations and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
The companies engaged in this initiative included DP World, Landmark, Dnata Group, Dubai Free Zone, DHL, Emirates Post Group, UPS, Dubai Design District, Azadea Group, Challhoub Group, Lals Group, Al Tayer Group, Apparel, Giordano, GMG and Siddiqi Holdings.
As part of the collaboration between the UAE’s academic and industry sectors (particularly private sector), the parties will identify and enhance current and future jobs’ knowledge, skills and competencies, culminating in the HCT launching a Logistics Academy and a Retail Academy in September 2019. The Sector Skills Academies will support graduates and mid-career professionals by providing them with the necessary business management, entrepreneurial and technology-related skills to operate in the globalized economy.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, signed cooperation agreements with the 16 leading private sector companies, in the presence of H.E. Mona Walid, the Deputy Undersecretary of Emiratization at MOHRE, as well as representatives from HCT and the 16 companies.
H.E. Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation and HCT Chancellor, emphasized the importance of the partnership between the education sector and various labor sectors, in preparing a national, trained workforce to meet the needs of the labor market, and which is aligned to national developments. He reiterated the importance of the private sector, as a strategic partner, in developing Emiratisation policies and supporting initiatives promoting training and recruitment opportunities for Emiratis in vital sectors.
The Minister said the establishment of the Academies is in accordance with the directives of the UAE leadership and coincides with the launch by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, of the HCT 4.0 strategy, which includes directives about the Academies, which will support employees who wish to change their career paths to UAE’s critical sectors, thus empowering the workforce with future skills.
H.E. Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli said the establishment of these academies were aligned to the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, to establish professionally specialized academies that support employees who wish to change their career paths and which will support UAE economy sectors. He added they are also in line with the National Operation Strategy 2031 that aims to provide the labor market with a qualified workforce, familiar with current technological updates and skills. He noted that the signing will also support Emiratisation percentages of the UAE workforce, and develop the skills of the Emiratis who are working in all economic sectors, enabling them to master future skills and enhance life-long learning programs.
His Excellency added that the purpose of this collaboration is to support the national workforce in dealing with the changes of the labor market and also to empower them educationally, scientifically and professionally for future jobs. He emphasized that MOHRE is providing its full support to ensure the three-way partnership, focusing on applied learning, is successful, adding that the private sector will be the leveraging factor to guide the Academies in effectively implementing their objectives.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President and CEO, highlighted that the signing ceremony was a celebration of the triangular partnership that unites MOHRE, HCT and 16 local and international major private companies, which will culminate in the launch of the SSAs, as part of the HCT 4.0 strategy.
He said the academies will support employees wishing to change their career path by acquiring the skills needed by the labor market, in light of the accelerating changes of the market brought about by the 4thIndustrial Revolution, and the huge growth of Artificial Intelligence, the extinction of some jobs due to automation, and the creation of new jobs.
Dr. Al Shamsi noted that the course programs to be offered at the Academies have been designed in cooperation with Southern Alberta Technology Institute (SAIT) in Canada, which has global experiences in the professional education field. “The HCT leverages the launch of these academies, in partnership with the private companies, to support work environment-integrated education that achieves integration between the academic provision of knowledge and its applied skill, and the practical side related to refining the learner’s skills through hands-on training and facing challenges,” Dr. Al Shamsi said.
“This will enhance the skills and promote performance towards professionalism. This partnership between the education and work environments will lead to professionally skilled people, making the workforce highly ready for work,” he added.
Obaid Mohammed Al Qatami, Acting Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates Post Group, said: “We are proud to collaborate with the Higher Colleges of Technology, and this signing supports our government’s directives in preparing a qualified national workforce for the retail and logistics sectors. At Emirates Post, we believe it is imperative to invest in education to produce a skilled national workforce for the future and, the introduction of the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Sector Skills Academies will ensure that today’s job seekers are equipped to succeed in the workplace.”
“We look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise of the postal and logistics business with the students and to bringing graduates of the program into our workforce. Given the evolution and expansion of e-commerce in the Emirates, we encourage our nation’s youth to take advantage of the opportunities that this new qualification affords,” he added.
Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director at d3, commented: “The collaboration with HCT allows us to exchange knowledge and expertise in the areas of training and development, which will encourage Emirati talents to be entrepreneurs in design, fashion or retail as well as boost their employability in this growing sector.”
“As the region’s creative hub, we continue to work with partners who share common interests and contribute to our inspiring ecosystem. Together we shape Dubai’s future as a leading destination of design, art, and culture,” she added.
The first intake of Academy students will consist of 20 in each of the Logistics Academy and Retail Academy. HCT plans to open more academies in different industry sectors, in the coming years.
As part of the cooperation agreements, the 16 private sector partners will provide HCT with consultation services, in order to develop knowledge and training for UAE Nationals enrolled at the academies, as well as leveraging labor market-integrated learning practices. They will also collaborate with the HCT and its partners by hosting workshops and speakers, specialized in the fields offered at the academies.