0 comments on “Digital economy plays key role in high-quality growth (China)”

Digital economy plays key role in high-quality growth (China)

chinaChina’s manufacturing industry is aiming to transform itself from “Quantity” to “Quality”. The key strategy is to develop a digital economy, said Li Yizhong, the former minister from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Sunday.

Speaking at the 2018 World Forum on Scientific and Technological Innovation in Beijing,Li said “A digital economy means a deep integration of Information technology (IT) and the manufacturing industry.”

“It is the trend of a global economy as well as a national strategy for a high-quality growth in manufacturing and internet development,’ he added.

Then, how to develop a digital economy?

Li noted that cutting-edge technologies like big data, internet, cloud computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) need to be closely integrated with the manufacturing industry to develop new products and business models.

There are three areas where China’s digital economy has developed the most in recent years, Li summarized, firstly, the IT industry has seen a fast growth and contributed 8 percent to the overall GDP growth last year.

Secondly, enterprises have played bigger roles in developing a digital economy. They have realized the significance of the integration between manufacturing and IT. For instance, Alibaba has rolled out an industrial system that integrated the internet and its companies. The IT industry includes telecom manufacturing, communication services, software and the internet industries.

Thirdly, the benchmarks in digitalization have been improved. For example, indoor broadband penetration has reached 86.7 percent while mobile broadband penetration has risen to 86.3 percent, and the internet surfing fee has been reduced by 46.2 percent, which has exceeded the goals set for 2020.

The number of robots used by every 10,000 workers on average has been increased from 23 in 2013 to 50 as of now, which is close to the world’s averages. The patents held by every 10,000 citizens on average have doubled since 2013. Moreover, enterprises hold over 60 percent of the overall patents.

He also pointed out the challenges faced by digital economy developments.

Core technologies are still controlled by other nations. The Chinese economic structure is still at the low-end. There are significant gaps between China and other developed countries in chips, integrated circuits, software, and data processing techniques. Ninety-five percent of high-end chips are from overseas. Therefore, technological innovations are vital for developing a digital economy.

Most enterprises lack awareness when it comes to digital transformation. They need technical assistance and support. Their understandings of how technologies could enhance productivity require further education. Meanwhile, tech companies lack the knowledge of the industrial demands.

Li suggested strengthening the communication and education for digital transformation among enterprises and leading industrial enterprises by collaborating with internet giants to develop new applications.

On the one hand, interdisciplinary talents who have both knowledgeable of technologies like big data and have the industrial expertise are extremely scarce. On the other hand, loads of traditional workers have been laid off. In France, 3 million jobs will disappear because of digitalization. While in the Guiyang hi-tech industrial development area, 42,000 jobs were created by the digital economy and related industries, Li said.

source: http://en.xfafinance.com

0 comments on “Want to succeed in the digital economy? Bridge the cloud skills gap”

Want to succeed in the digital economy? Bridge the cloud skills gap

Screenshot_1.pngCloud is now a business imperative, and we see many organizations taking a cloud-first approach to innovate faster and serve customers better. Increased agility, more cost savings and better competitive advantages are also amongst the most cited reasons for an organization’s transition to the cloud. However, there’s one area of concern the industry hasn’t been able to effectively address so far – bridging the cloud skills gap.

In Oracle’s Your Platform research, respondents from India cited lack of skills as one of the top three challenges they face when migrating to the cloud. Skills issues were also called out as issues around having the right capabilities for developing applications in the cloud, and around data management. The ability to find and retain cloud-savvy IT staff continues to be considered one of the key barriers to cloud adoption. No wonder, moving to the cloud is still deemed to be risky by some CIOs, but should it be?

The reality is that the bigger risk is not moving to the cloud, which is rapidly proving itself as easier to manage, maintain and secure than traditional IT environments. In particular, cloud services are vastly more secure that many on-premises alternatives, due to the fact that more time and money are spent on them by major cloud providers, and they’re continually kept patched and up-to-date as a result.

What we see from talking to CIOs across industries is that where skills gaps issues exist, they relate less to having specific cloud skills and centre more on mindset. So what are the gaps and how can companies seek to overcome them?

Think big – Infrastructure cloud services enable businesses to operate elastically, at a vastly increased scale. This gives the company an amazing opportunity to change the dynamics of how they operate. Instead of just migrating individual databases, think bigger, consolidating the various data sets you have around the business into a unified dataset. There are multiple benefits of this. At a base level, you can have more applications per server and manage them all as one, and with AI and machine learning becoming more prevalent, you can be prepared to take maximum use of these exciting emerging technologies by preparing for it now by creating a single data asset.

Data orchestration – Businesses are increasingly seeking to become data-driven. IT teams need to stop looking at data as by-product of processes and instead regard it as profit opportunity. This means thinking about how business information can be turned into actionable insights that lead to customer engagement and profitable growth.

Advanced data management – Data is the new oil for businesses: a huge source of potential wealth if mined, refined and distributed well. A core skill for enterprise IT teams is, therefore, how to store, manage and transport data. T

Hiring for the cloud era
Creating a team for the future will inevitably affect the hiring process. Rather than look for new employees from traditional, external sources, most likely direct competitors, CIOs should aim to recruit from cloud-native companies. These staff are used to handling data in the cloud and have the required cloud skills.

Internal talent
Don’t forget you already might have internal talent that has the potential to shine in a cloud world. Holding or attending ‘hackathons’ or offering existing staff the opportunity to volunteer to take part in new cloud projects could give you the chance to spot skills you didn’t know the team possessed.

Protecting HR investments
Once an enterprise has upskilled its team, talent retention is important. This is to ensure that the business feels a positive benefit from its investment and that real change is given the time needed to take root.

Your competitive advantage
If enterprise IT teams can close the cloud skills gap, the rewards will be well worth the effort. The renewed, high-performing team will quickly demonstrate value to the C-suite and other key corporate stakeholders, while enabling a core competitive differentiator for the business.

0 comments on “Workers feel unprepared to get jobs in the digital economy (Australia)”

Workers feel unprepared to get jobs in the digital economy (Australia)

Australians earning under $50,000 a year, that are single, aged 40-49 or did not complete high school are most concerned they’ll be out of a job in the new digital economy, but the majority are not doing anything to learn new skills.

A new study from MYOB, presented at The Australian Financial Review Innovation Summit, indicated that 28 per cent of respondents felt “totally unprepared” for the tech-driven changes to the workforce, while only 16 per cent of people felt completely prepared.

“[It’s] been well documented by the OECD is that the relative value of different parts of the value chain is changing. What they’ve commented on is the components at the start of the value chain and end are worth more now than they were in the past and those in the middle are worth relatively less,” Mr Reed said.

“In particular the design and research and development and marketing and services component have lifted in their share of the overall value of the value chain and the logistics and manufacturing are down.”

But overall, Mr Reed was bullish that Australia was positioned well to benefit from this shift in value in the supply chain.

“This is very good for Australia as a small, educated open economy participating in global supply chains. This enables us to focus on the areas that are high value-add, if we have the skills across our workforce to be able to do that,” he said.

The respondents in the MYOB survey rated problem solving, digital security, collaboration, digital data and digital design skills as the most critical for workplaces of the future.

These skills matched up with those identified in a study by local economics firm Alphabeta last year, which found interpersonal, creative, decision making and information synthesis abilities would be critical to the digital economy.

Despite the majority of respondents not being able, or willing, to invest in their own upskilling, Mr Reed said the fact there was alignment in the knowledge of what skills would be needed was cause for optimism.

“I’m really optimistic about the future. I’m far more concerned about the lack of artificial intelligence having the productivity drivers we need than the fear of destroying jobs.

“This data gave me more reasons to be optimistic because the skills that are the high value skills and are needed by companies are seen to be needed by the individuals in Australia. There’s no mismatch in information.

“What we’re not doing enough of is building those skills in individuals.”

Mr Reed proposed that Australia needed to rethink its education models, backing Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott’s idea for a government lifelong learning fund, an impetus in more industries for continuous learning like what occurs in medicine or accounting, as well as more employers being willing to fund employees to undertake new qualifications in exchange for loyalty.

MYOB has implemented a program in which it brings mature-aged women into the business and spends nine months training them to the level of an undergraduate in computer science, on the condition that they agree to work for the company for a set period of time afterwards. This is helping the company tackle gender equality in the tech industry, while also letting it identify new talent.

“That model where there is an implicit investment in skills and also an appreciation from the individual regarding the return on that investment, that’s something we’ll see more of.”

Despite this, over half of the 500 the respondents surveyed said they were not financially prepared to invest in updating their skills and 47 per cent admitted they were not doing anything to update their skills, not even reading leadership books or listening to webinars, let alone undertaking a course.

MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said the Australians most fearful of the shift to the digital economy were those that typically doing roles in the middle of the “value chain”.

source: www.afr.com

0 comments on “Learning to stretch the new standard”

Learning to stretch the new standard

learningThe way we learn is changing dramatically. In the past we would rely on formal schooling before we then entered a technical college or university for more learning. Once we entered the workforce it was up to the employer to provide further education through fairly rigid training programs or by providing simple on-the-job experience.

In many ways, we are all the product of the sheep dip approach to learning. We would all be given a quick training treatment and hopefully that was enough. It was the one-size-fits-all approach to education.

How times have changed. The rise of the digital economy is revolutionising training and organisations are keen to provide a more personalised education experience. DeakinCo’s recent report titled Enabling the Future of Work (Skills and Strategies for Learning and Development), identified four main trends that will define learning and industry in this period of transformation:  the rise of digital; the rise of human experience; the rise of “human” skills and the rise of agility.

As these trends play out across business, the learning experience inside organisations is having to change. Employees now need a continuous learning experience which ranges across a whole business and even involves “stretch experiences” where they expand their skills beyond the confines of their role.

What this has meant for learning and development (L&D) professionals is an evolution from being order takers to skills facilitators. In the past the business came to L&D departments with an idea – it might have been to fill up a call centre and train the staff within. It was about formulating a program for learning. This is changing in the digital economy.

Rather than training people to perform a task it is now more about measuring performance outcomes rather than learning outcomes. How are people performing constantly? Are they continually being brought up to speed?

In practical terms, according to the Enabling the Future of Work report, this means further developing performance-consulting skills in L&D professionals to engage with the business and uncover root causes through a consultation or investigative process. It is about empowering employees with capabilities that will help an organisation reach its goals

This could involve redesigning roles and changing an individual’s skills base. Moreover, this change needs to be measurable and that is where the increasing role of data analytics comes into play as it allows us to measure what high performers do. Importantly, it is also about maximising the capabilities of existing employees.

Right now Australia’s top companies are struggling with skills shortages. Changes to our visa laws may have affected our ability to source some of these skills offshore, but it is also unrealistic to make wholesale changes to workforces. Deeper domain skills are a business imperative and working with existing employees ensures those skills remain in an organisation.

Furthermore, according to DeakinCo, keeping these deeper domain skills in an organisation also ensures new employees get an understanding of a business’s inner workings. Put simply: application and doing comes from on-the-job learning from others.

Bearing this in mind, building soft skill capabilities in employees is crucial to the learning experience because a more human-centred approach built around the concept of design thinking and empathy for others aids on-the-job learning. Success in building these skills helps in finding the point of need in an organisation and where it needs to build.

This represents a step change for L&D professionals because organisations now want to better understand the people resource inside an organisation. What are they capable of and are they being utilised to the best of their abilities?

In a rapidly changing world, L&D professionals now occupy a different place at the table in organisations. They are now more highly valued because business performance data can be directly correlated to how employees are trained.

It means L&D are now more connected and involved with the overall business. They are no longer an add-on or a nice to have, but playing a vital role in workplace development in the digital economy.

source: www.afr.com 

0 comments on “Business meets data science at the Digital Economy Summit in Rotterdam”

Business meets data science at the Digital Economy Summit in Rotterdam

Industry and business professionals joined academics in digital business and data analytics at the Digital Economy Summit in Rotterdam on 20 June. The community of innovators gathered to explore digital phenomena and data analytics research – and their applications in the business world – at the event organised by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) as an initiative of the forthcoming .

Invited speakers and panellists from diverse professional backgrounds contributed their expertise on the data revolution and its implications for business strategies. The Summit was a full day of presentations, panels, and discussions to explore digital business, digital strategy, business analytics, artificial intelligence, digital experimentation and privacy. The Summit concluded with the inauguration of Ting Li as Endowed Professor of Digital Business at RSM.

Prof. Eric van Heck gave a welcome address. He emphasized the interdependence of academic research and the role of businesses in applying it for positive change. “Businesses use innovation, which is found through research and science, for real-world impacts,” he said. As Chair of RSM’s Department of Technology and Operations Management, Prof. Van Heck notices a response to the data revolution among his students. “Years ago, many students would avoid working with data analytics and algorithms. But now, we see a growing trend of students asking for these courses because the job markets are asking them for these skills – it is a growing expertise!”

Data-informed business strategies

Professor Rob Kauffman from Singapore Management University presented his research of the living analytics revolution; how people leave digital traces of what they have been doing, and how data scientists can make meaningful inferences using this information. He illustrated the impact of smart analytics in large data sets, potentially revealing ‘digital canaries in urban data mines’, the subject of one of his research papers.

Prof Kauffman reminded participants that “companies are not the central nodes in society” when referring to how businesses can create better impact. He suggests that there is an increasing demand for data-informed business strategies that reflect society’s needs, likening this to the current need for evidence-based policy-making in EU politics.

Good data science from good data science teams

“Private business is also driving that next wave of innovation,” says senior data scientist Adam Hill of data intelligence lab HAL24K, referring to the opening address. Hill discussed the use of analytics in digital business and what makes good data science. Data science “derives actionable insights to improve business,” he said. He refers to methods such as machine learning and real-time data and decision-making to illustrate their uses in examples like predicting air pollution, optimizing traffic flow, and public bike distribution. At the end of his presentation, he advises that an excellent data scientist should possess “a diverse collection of skills that cover statistics, programming, databases, communication and business domain.” Good data science comes from building data science teams, he said.

“We are at an inflection point for data-driven management,” says Prof Ravi Bapna of Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota. His presentation highlighted the challenges of using data analytics in business. He argued that there are three main challenges:

  1. executive-level awareness of the art of analytics
  2. a shortage of talent
  3. organisational muscle and capabilities.

“Analytics ‘translation’ [into business strategy] is by far the biggest deficiency [in companies],” argued Prof. Bapna. To tackle these problems, he offered an organisational learning plan that consists of a test-and-learn culture, gaining experience with large-scale data processing, and moving from point optimization to end-to-end-process optimization using audio-visual and language processing.

Eight weeks from idea to market

John Staunton, CEO of Countr POS, an online retail Point of Sale platform, presented case studies of businesses and their use of AI, machine learning, and behavioural analytics. One case study of supermarket chain Spar’s introduction of cashier- and POS-less purchasing system showed that relying on mobile, self-serve, and digital payments, machine learning learns to personalize the customer’s in-store experience. It can take as little as just eight weeks from idea to market, Staunton suggests, and this is how digital business should embrace the analytics revolution. Echoing previous speakers, he underlined the importance of collaboration within business analytics as “nobody is an expert at everything [and] closed ecosystems do not work.”

Learn to manage new technologies

Senior Associate Dean of Fox School of Business at Temple University, Prof. Paul Pavlou highlighted the foundations of digital business strategy and offered an illustration of its trajectory. Referring to recognizable phenomena such as digital platforms, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT), Prof. Pavlou offered a prediction of the rise of Future and Emerging Technologies. As digital business advances into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, “sophisticated technologies are likely to emerge, such as nanotechnology, new materials, biometrics, and quantum computing.” He advised that learning to manage these technologies would allow for “sustained competitive advantage.”

The ethics of data analytics for privacy and data sovereignty

Moderated by RSM’s Prof. Peter Vervest, the Digital Economy Summit concluded with a panel of data experts from business and academia: Jan-Kees Buenen of SynerscopeMartijn Imrich of XomniaDr Nelson Granados of Pepperdine University; and Prof. Rajiv Garg, of University of Texas at Austin. The interactive discussion addressed questions from participants, and insights and opinions from audience members were welcomed.

The panel tackled the debates surrounding co-creation in the era of big data. An intricate discussion towards the end of the session addressed the ethics of data analytics for privacy and data sovereignty. Prof. Garg dove deeper into this question and raised issue of bias of machine learning and AI for social groups such as nationality, race, and socio-economic status. An argument offered was that it is not the tools themselves that carry these biases but how practitioners program them. Panelists, supported by various participants in the audience, agree that such flaws do not invalidate the pursuit of data science; on the contrary, it is motivation to direct further cross-sector research to confront this issue.

source: www.rsm.nl

0 comments on “7 Digital skills are not optional in today’s tech savvy world (UNCTAD)”

7 Digital skills are not optional in today’s tech savvy world (UNCTAD)

unctadNegative stereotypes about women and girls studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are among the impediments to an inclusive world where hi-tech solutions solve global problems, the 21st session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development(CSTD), hosted by UNCTAD, heard at a meeting in Geneva on 15 May.

An all-woman panel discussed the theme of building digital competencies to benefit from existing and emerging technologies, with a special focus on gender and youth dimensions.

Recalling that women had played pivotal roles in the history of computing, Shirley Malcom, head of the directorate of education and human resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said it was “refreshing” to see the CSTD focus on issues of gender and youth in its deliberations.

Meanwhile, Helena Dalli, Malta’s European affairs and equality minister, said female role models were an important factor in promoting more women to take up STEM subjects and pursue careers in science and technology.

Profound changes for all

Speaking in a video message, the meeting also heard from Geraldine Byrne Nason, chair of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, on the importance of coordination between intergovernmental bodies.

To help guide the conversation, UNCTAD prepared a background report, steered by Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s, division on technology and logistics, and head of the CSTD Secretariat.

Setting out the issues

The remarkable technological progress the world has seen recently is transforming the fabric of our lives. The profound changes – driven by the spread of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) – will affect everyone’s life and every country’s economy.

For example, sensor devices deployed all over the world are improving agricultural productivity and making it possible to map and control epidemic outbreaks. And digital platforms are creating new job opportunities.

But Big Data can unfortunately also be used to influence democratic processes – as the world witnessed in recent elections in the United States and Europe – and automation means that certain jobs will no longer be available for humans.

“Opaque algorithms can ‘bake-in’ bias and exclusion,” Ms. Malcom said.

Whether the effects of technological change will be more positive than negative depends on the getting the right skills into the right people’s hands.

Miriam Nicado García, rector of Cuba’s University of Informatics Sciences (UCI), explained how her university was a new venture, begun in 2002, that aimed to tackle this problem for her country. Software produced in Cuba for health, education, legal and tourism applications was being made available free to other countries, she said.

A skills mismatch

Estimates show that already by 2020 90% of new jobs will require ICT skills. Yet more than one-third of workers in developed countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) currently lack the digital know-how needed. And over half the population in these economies have no digital skills at all – with female employees usually being less tech savvy than their male counterparts.

“The more we let the gender divide grow, the more economic disparities will grow,” Ms. Dalli said when explaining the proactive measures Malta had taken, as a small island nation with few resources, to promote women in STEM fields.

In fact, technology in the workplace can affect women and men differently. ICT service jobs are normally well paid, but the share of women in such positions remains very low, especially in developing countries.

A recent survey among 13 major developed and emerging economies showed that female workers tend to hold low-growth or declining occupations, such as sales and administrative jobs.

Although women are less represented in sectors threatened by automation, such as manufacturing and construction, the report prepared by UNCTAD ahead of the event says that since there are few women in STEM job families, they may not be well placed in the economy to benefit from the increasing demand for workers with tech skills.

Such a mismatch between what businesses need and what job-seekers offer will slow economic growth significantly. What’s worse, portions of the population could become unemployable. And with unemployment levels already high in many parts of the world, such a situation would be devastating, not just for the individuals but also for their families and communities.

Getting the right skills in the hands of the workforce will be even more important in developing countries, where billions of young people will enter the job market in the coming decades.

In Africa alone, about 11 million young people will enter the labour market every year for the next decade. If governments don’t help equip new job seekers with the right skills, they may have to deal with rising youth unemployment.

However, according to Sophia Bekele, founder & CEO of DotConnectAfrica Group, whose works helps African women run tech start-ups, developing countries may have a competitive advantage over older, more developed markets.

“The global South has best opportunity to leapfrog in the digital economy instead of reinventing the wheel,” she said.

Four levels of digital competency

According to the UNCTAD report, four different levels of digital skills are needed during the journey from adopting new devices to creating new technologies.

“The most fundamental skill sets for individuals and companies in the digital era are capabilities to adopt new technologies,” the report says, adding that “digital literacy for all is a basic requirement for every citizen to participate fully in the digital society.”

So every country, no matter the stage of economic development, needs to have in place basic digital education and training programmes for all its citizens.

For people, being “digital literate” means being able to use the basic functions of common devices, such as a computer. For a business, it means “knowledge about ICT installations in the existing business system,” the report says.

But more and more professions, even beyond the ICT sector, require the ability to adapt and creatively use available technologies. And it is when a countries workforce can modify existing technology or design new systems and devices technologies that real value is added to the economy.

“To maximize the benefits of new technology, countries and companies in developing countries need to have the digital skills to introduce modifications to new technologies,” the report says. This is because advanced technologies are often designed for contexts – both technical and social – that differ from the realities of many developing economies, and therefore must be adapted to the local context, the report adds.

Adding a gender dimension to the issue of context, Ms. Malcom said that very often, time itself was a scarce commodity for women that policies designed to help them must reflect.

A moving target

Technology’s impact, however, extends well beyond the labour market, and being tech savvy has increasingly become important for enjoying a good quality of life in what has become and increasing digital world.

“With increasing numbers of software and applications being used to accomplish everyday communicational and informational tasks, basic knowledge of ICTs is now essential for citizens to solve everyday problems, as well as to engage in community activities,” the report says.

Digital skills are a multifaceted moving target. According to the report, six major drivers influence what technical competencies people need:

“Increasing globalization, extreme longevity, workplace automation, fast diffusion of sensors and data processing power, ICT-enabled communication tools and media, and the unprecedented reorganization of work driven by new technologies and social media, which are massively increasing collaboration opportunities.”

But the other, more specific digital competencies required will likely depend on the country’s economic specialization and industrial development.

For example, the report says, “Countries where the manufacturing sector dominates economic growth will require talents, experts and a workforce with specialized skills in industrial robotics, automation and the Internet of Things.”

While the skills that workers need to use technology increases, so does the list of the complementary soft skills necessary to perform in the digital economy.

Human skills in a robot’s world

But digital skills are not enough to adapt to changing labour markets demands. Paradoxically, as work becomes more automated, the unique human skills that cannot be easily replaced by machines become ever more important.

So building and strengthening skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, will be essential to create the flexibility required for the current and future demands for the workplace, the report says.

The need for human creativity and innovation helps explain why professions like engineering and science are less at threatened by digitalization and computerization, the report says. Likewise, occupations that involve sophisticated communication skills will also be in a better position in the digital era.

“For example, natural language processing algorithms can detect emotions underlying text, but are often inaccurate in comprehending sarcasm, humour or irony,” the report says.

Finally, even if computers and robots could perform every task, economies would still rely on people to come up with the new businesses ideas. That’s why the report calls on governments to equip people with the digital entrepreneurship skills.

source: http://unctad.org 

0 comments on “Online Training Provider Simplilearn Passes One Million Learners’ Mark”

Online Training Provider Simplilearn Passes One Million Learners’ Mark

Simplilearn LogoEdTech company, Simplilearn, a leading provider of online training courses for digital economy skills, announced today that it has reached a milestone of one million learners. Having recently celebrated its eighth anniversary in the online training business, Simplilearn has doubled its learner base in two years.

Several key factors have accelerated the business growth of Simplilearn, including the acquisition of digital marketing training provider, Market Motive in 2015 and the opening of two new offices in the United States, in San Francisco, California (2016) and Raleigh, North Carolina (2017). Additional boosts in subscribers came in 2016 when Microsoft named Simplilearn as a Silver Learning Partner for its suite of Microsoft Azure certification courses and Simplilearn became Google’s first authorized training partner (ATP) for Certified Android App Developer training. In April 2018, Simplilearn was awarded a General Service Administration (GSA) contract for online training, to offer a range of professional certification courses to employees of federal, state and local government agencies in the United States.

“I credit Simplilearn’s rapid growth to our continuous focus on providing outcome-based training geared towards course completions, certifications, client business goals and learners’ jobs achieved,” said Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Simplilearn. “We’re grateful to all our subscribers and partners who have enabled us to reach this measurable landmark, because our success is simply a testament to our learners’ success.”

Simplilearn’s year-over-year growth is attributed to its unique blended learning model and its expansive course offerings in highly demanded roles across AI & Machine Learning, Big Data & Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Digital Marketing and more, all of which are continually updated by renowned experts and industry thought leaders. In addition to helping working professionals gain competitive marketplace skills, Simplilearn partners with leading global system integrators, enterprise companies in the consumer goods, banking, telecom industries along with many others, so both, companies and their employees can get the skills they need to thrive in today’s digital economy.

source: www.prnewswire.com

0 comments on “A New Economy for the Middle East and North Africa”

A New Economy for the Middle East and North Africa

menaDespite its geopolitical challenges, the economies of the Middle East and North Africa have vast untapped potential in their young, educated, and tech-savvy populations. If governments can implement the reforms needed to shift from public- to private-sector-led development, the region’s economies could become digital powerhouses.

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) possess all of the ingredients they need to leapfrog into the digital future. They have large, well-educated youth populations that have already adopted new digital and mobile technologies on a wide scale. That combination has immense potential to drive future growth and job creation. But will it?

Public spending, the region’s historical engine of development, has reached its limit. Because the public sector can no longer absorb the swelling ranks of university graduates, the MENA region now has one of the world’s highest rates of youth unemployment.

The digital economy holds the promise of a new way forward, but it is still in its infancy, and young people face obstacles in putting technology to productive use. Although the Internet and hand-held devices are ubiquitous throughout the region, they are currently used for accessing social media, rather than for launching new enterprises.

But there are green shoots emerging. For example, the ride-hailing app Careem has grown from a start-up to a billion-dollar company, creating thousands of jobs in more than 90 cities in the MENA region and in Pakistan and Turkey. And new digital platforms are already connecting job seekers and employers, providing vocational training, and hosting start-up incubators. The challenge now is to create the conditions for these green shoots to grow and multiply.

The first, essential step is for MENA countries to become “learning societies,” a phrase coined by the Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz to describe countries in which shared knowledge leads to increased innovation. This, in turn, fosters development; and in the case of MENA, it could lead to the creation of a vibrant digital service economy.

To get there, education systems will need to change. For the region’s young people, the curriculum is more often a source of frustration than advancement. The concept of a “skills premium” – the difference in wages between skilled and unskilled workers – dictates that higher educational attainment should lead to higher compensation and more secure employment. Yet in the MENA region, the opposite has happened: university graduates are far more likely to be unemployed than are workers with only a basic education.

Two factors work against the region’s young people. First, schools are still geared toward channeling graduates into large public sectors, which means they place less emphasis on fields such as mathematics and science. Second, bloated public sectors are crowding out the private sector, which would otherwise be a larger provider of high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Because the future economy will need technologically capable workers, curricula should be reoriented toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects and away from the social studies that were long prized by public-sector employers.

Moreover, education systems should focus on encouraging greater openness to innovation and risk-taking – a significant departure from the attitudes reproduced under a system of public-sector patronage. Specifically, moving toward an innovative “learning society” will require students to hone their critical-thinking and managerial skills within collaborative work arrangements.

In addition to skills, the digital economy will also need technical infrastructure. Connectivity is a prerequisite for the delivery of new mobile and digital services in e-commerce, vocational training, health care, and finance, all of which could substantially increase overall welfare. Countries in the region thus need to focus on expanding broadband Internet access.

Education and Internet infrastructure geared toward productive use would provide the foundation of a new economy. But ensuring sustained growth in the region will require improving its financial systems as well. A digital economy depends on payment systems that are not just easy to use and widely available, but also trustworthy. Developing effective peer-to-peer payments that require no financial intermediary like a bank will be crucial for ensuring that digital platforms for ride sharing, on-demand tasks, and other services can thrive.

Outside of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which have relatively advanced payment systems, the quality of financial services in the MENA region currently lags behind most of the rest of the world. Barring improvements to the financial system, and to the banking sector in particular, the potential of the region’s vast human capital will not be realized.

Lastly, governments will need to develop an approach to regulation that encourages, rather than stifles, innovation. To be sure, ensuring confidence, especially in financial systems, is essential; but regulation must be balanced with policies to boost competition, so that start-ups can easily enter the market and test new ideas. There needs to be more space for more companies like Careem to emerge. Policymakers should look to Kenya’s model of light but effective regulation, which has fostered the rapid growth of the peer-to-peer payment system M-Pesa.

Seizing the opportunities that the digital economy offers the MENA region will require a big push. Policymakers will need to work on multiple fronts, while making the best use of all available tools. The sooner they start, the greater the chance that today’s young people can overcome economic exclusion and gain more opportunities to realize their – and their region’s – full potential.

source: www.project-syndicate.org

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Alibaba brings focus on tech-based education curriculum

King-Mongkuts-Institute-of-Technology-Ladkrabang-CHINESE e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Bt11-billion promised investment in Thailand have prompted the country’s higher education institutes to step up their technology and related curriculum in preparation for a rising demand for digital skills.

Suchatchavee Suwansawas, rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, said Jack Ma’s larger presence here via the Alibaba e-commerce, payment, logistics, and tourism projects had further boosted Thai people’s awareness of digital technology, social media, e-commerce and related fields.

Universities in Thailand are now set to produce more graduates in digital technology, “big data” and artificial intelligence (AI), he said.

Ek Pattarathanakul, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Accountancy, said Thai enterprises needed to adapt and learn new things from the Alibaba projects in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Another option would be to focus on specific and niche market segments to avoid direct competition with the giant e-commerce and related platforms, he said.

Saowaraj Ratanakamfu of the Thailand Development Research Institute said the biggest challenge in accommodating Alibaba’s investment projects in this country lay in the availability of workers with digital and related skills. This takes on increased importance with Thailand serving as a regional hub for the Chinese giant.

At present, Thailand has more than 427 bachelor’s degree programmes that include digital and related subjects, with a combined capacity to produce over 26,000 graduates in these fields per year. Yet the quality of graduates is not yet sufficiently high in terms of meeting the labour market’s requirement.

All programmes and curriculum need to be updated frequently because technology changes rapidly, Saowaraj said, adding that the country also needed to add value to existing investments in the digital economy to stay competitive. She cited Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan as examples that leverage disruptive technologies, artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things

source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com

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Vodafone launches world’s largest international future jobs programme to help up to 10 million young people find work

vodafone efVodafone announced the launch of a ground-breaking international future jobs programme “W?”  to provide career guidance and access to training content in the digital economy for up to 10 million young people across 18 countries.The Vodafone digital skills and jobs initiative is the largest of its kind in the world.

In parallel, Vodafone also announced plans for a significant increase in the number of young people brought into the company to gain direct experience of the digital workplace. Vodafone will expand its existing graduate, apprenticeship, internship and work experience schemes worldwide to reach a total of up to 100,000 young people by 2022.

The two initiatives were announced as Vodafone published the results of a major international public opinion survey revealing the extent to which young adults aged 18-24 believe they are ill-equipped to participate in the digital economy despite being the first generation to be “born digital”.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that more than 200 million young people are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty. In many of the countries in which Vodafone operates, youth unemployment is at record levels, from 38% in Italy and 39% in Spain to 47% in Greece and 53% in South Africa. Previous studies have found that a prolonged period of unemployment shortly after a young person leaves education to enter the workforce can have a lifelong negative effect on individual confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing.

Paradoxically, unemployment among young people is rising just as businesses of all types and sizes are struggling to fill a wide range of digital technology roles that are critical for future growth. The European Commission estimates that around 500,000 digital jobs across the European Union will remain unfilled by 2020.

Getting young people into work

Over the last year, Vodafone has worked with specialist psychologists, careers advisers and training providers to develop a smartphone-based service – called the Future Jobs Finder  that offers young people a simple but comprehensive gateway to new skills and opportunities for employment in the digital economy.

The first step in the Future Jobs Finder is a series of quick psychometric tests designed to identify each individual’s aptitudes and interests and then map these to the most appropriate job category in the digital economy. In the second step, the individual is directed to specific job opportunities in their chosen location, including opportunities with Vodafone. Users can also access relevant online digital skills training providers, with many of these courses available for free. On completing the tests, users also receive a summary of their skills and interests that can be used on their C.V. or in a job application.

Unsupported and uncertain: young people and the digital economy

Vodafone commissioned YouGov to ask 6,000 18-24 year olds in 15 countries for their views on their future career aspirations and concerns. The findings from the Vodafone-YouGov The State of iGen research include:

  • more than two-thirds (67%) of young people interviewed said they had received insufficient or no careers advice at any point in their education or since leaving school or university;
  • of those who had received careers advice during their time in education, just 15% said the careers advice they had received included more future-focused digital jobs, 38% felt the advice they had received was focused purely on traditional non-digital roles and 22% said the careers advice they received was ‘out-of-date’;
  • more than half (56%) believe the greatest struggle for their generation is to find any  kind of well-paid permanent job, a proportion rising to 64% among young women; and
  • more than one-fifth (23%) appear to have lost all confidence, and worry they do not have the skills to take on any role, no matter how basic.

The full The State of iGen research – including a country-by-country breakdown and additional statistics – can be found at: https://yougov.co.uk/find-solutions/omnibus/international/vodafone-study-igen/.

source: Vodafone