Oman’s Future Skills Initiative hosted a private sector briefing at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, under the chairmanship of H E Dr Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning.
Oman’s Future Skills Initiative aims to better anticipate how global technological advancements, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are transforming the skill set that the youth of Oman need to develop in order to succeed in the workplace of the future. The briefings included a keynote session by Saadia al Zahidi, managing director from the World Economic Forum’s Centre for New Economy and Society, and Ayad al Balushi, the Integration Management Office lead, heading up the Oman Oil/Orpic merger under the Nakhla initiative.
Both of whom provided insights into the ways in which institutions and national economies may keep pace with the new trends of global labour markets. A select group of 35 delegates attended the briefings across the spectrum of the private sector including representatives of tourism, energy, finance, telecommunications and technology markets, to name a few.
H E Dr Sunaidy, in his welcome note, said, “Through our continuous participation with the private-sector over time, we can see optimistic estimates around emerging tasks and growing jobs expected to offset transforming responsibilities in the workplace across industries. “We don’t want this to be a government-led initiative, or a World Economic Forum-led initiative. We are here to facilitate the private sector participation to take the lead in this initiative to co-create partnerships.”
Saadia remarked, “By 2022, the core skills required for jobs of the future will change significantly. Employees globally will need 101 days of on-the job training to prepare them for the employment landscape of the future.”
Her keynote address touched on the expanding portfolio of the World Economic Forum and mandate to take on projects required to tackle global challenges creating opportunities across numerous platforms.
She emphasised the fundamental role of public-private partnerships in addressing those challenges. The Oman’s Future Skills Initiative, launched in partnership with the World Economic Forum will serve as a model that will address those very challenges, drawing on the combined resources of government and private industry to identify and develop the skills that will be required for the workplace of the future.
Balushi elaborated on how systems in Oman were keeping pace with increasing demands while being faced with continuous disruptions ranging from technological innovations to changing demographics.
On the topic of changing demographics, Balushi noted that 60 per cent of their nearly 5,800 employees were under the age of 35, and this shift in the demographic was precipitating a notable shift in the way in which their organisation operated.
“Millennials don’t expect to be told what to do; they would rather be told why they are being asked to do it, and how their role contributes to the success of the organisation.” Identifying key distinctions such as these contribute to the fundamental work of culture building that forms an integral part of the Nakhla initiative.