The conference brought together career development professionals, educationists and employers who discussed the key opportunities and issues of the role of career guidance and education towards preparing the students for the ‘Future of Work’.
Miguel Lobo, Director of the Middle East Campus in Abu Dhabi, Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, INSEAD highlighted in his welcome speech the significant role policy makers, educators and employers play in creating a supportive ecosystem for young people in order to contribute to the workforce of the future. Miguel Lobo commented:
“With half of its population under age 25, MENA has the second youngest population among world regions after sub-Saharan Africa, and will be greatly altered in the next decade. It is critical to prepare the next generation with the right skills to adapt to and thrive in such a fast-changing environment.”
In his address to the conference, David Jones, CEO and Labour Market Economist at The Talent Enterprise, emphasised the educational backing required to address the skills gap and support career readiness in the future. He commented: “We are extremely happy to be supporting MECDC hosted by INSEAD, as it provides a fantastic opportunity for career guidance professionals, educators, policy makers, employers and other stakeholders to engage in open dialogue on employability and work readiness”.
David Jones added:
“Our research at The Talent Enterprise suggests that only 48% of students believe that their education is preparing them for their future careers. The world of work is changing very fast and the 21st century workplace requires 21st century skills. The concept of a ‘job for life’ no longer exists. Employers are looking for young people who are driven, have learning agility, a growth mindset, grit, resilience, confidence, a sense of collaboration and flexibility. Sadly, these skills for life aren’t emphasised or pro-actively developed within their formative years and we are hopeful of changing the status quo through our positive education programs. This will positively impact their employability skills, but also elevate students’ overall levels of well-being and happiness.”
The conference presented a full agenda and consisted of two panel discussions with a focus on the students /young professionals perspective on the support systems educational institutions provide and the educators’, employers’ and policy makers’ point of view on the same issue. The panel discussions followed two workshops regarding Job Search via Social Media and Career Guidance and Counseling.