Badiri calls for enhancing skill development to advance women's role in future labour market

Badiri calls for enhancing skill development to advance women's role in future labour market

SHARJAH, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) -- Badiri Education and Development Academy, the knowledge and capacity building arm of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), has underlined its commitment to shaping women’s developmental journey and preparing them for the changing nature of the workplace by enhancing access to knowledge, capacity building and skills development.

At a roundtable organised recently at the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, the NAMA affiliate brought together representatives from international organisations and learning providers to stimulate conversation on opening new doors for women by equipping them with upskilling and reskilling opportunities in preparation for future work requirements.

The roundtable titled, ‘Women and Future jobs: What It Takes to Succeed’, organised in partnership with Education For Employment (EFE), Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation; HSBC, LinkedIn, and Coursera, took place against the backdrop of the Global Goals Week, which was held in the UAE for the first time outside of the UN General Assembly in New York.

At the event, Badiri also reaffirmed its support to building a skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy female workforce and close digital gender gaps in the workplace through a comprehensive and integrated curriculum designed to equip females with the necessary personal and professional skills development to advance them into the future.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Mona Al Ali, Manager of the Badiri Academy, stated how the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered permanent shifts in the way we work today. Citing a recent research report, she said, "20% of women employed today will see their jobs replaced by automation by 2030 and more than 52% of these comprise of jobs in the services and clerical sectors. This means millions of people worldwide will be faced with career shifts or must retrain for new kinds of work. Developing skills that are in demand is essential to providing women the flexibility and mobility to transition to the new world of work."

The Badiri Academy Manager added, "H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA, believes that information and knowledge should be accessible to everyone. By providing vast resources and training for women, Badiri ensures equal learning opportunities and aims to break the cycle of structural and societal barriers that prevent women’s economic empowerment and advancement in the workplace."

Moderating the session, Dima Najim, Managing Director, Education For Employment-UAE, stated that the undeniable shift in the job market caused by the 4th Industrial Revolution and automation necessitates a new approach in addressing gender gaps in the job market. Citing ILO statistics which state that only 18% of women in the Arab world participate in the labour force, she hoped the insights and recommendations at the panel discussion would ensure a smooth transition to future jobs for the women in the MENA region.

Speaking at the roundtable, Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Communications and International Relations, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said that tapping into the female talent pool is essential to drive key change across several industry sectors as diverse teams lead to more innovation, especially at a time of rapid shifts in the way businesses operate.

He said, "The pandemic has taught us that, no matter how prepared we think we are, it is only by investing in agile systems and having the flexibility to adapt quickly to disruptive change that we can ensure success."

Al Nuaimi added, "The pandemic has advanced changes to working practices at a much faster pace than we could have anticipated, and women in particular were hit hard by these changes. The empowerment of women is at the heart of recent reforms introduced in the UAE’s labour law, which sets a framework for supporting the many roles that women play in society and will pave the way for achieving gender equality in the workplace."

Lara Jean Chaaya, Government Partnerships Manager, Coursera, said, "Our research suggests that gender gaps in online learning narrowed during the pandemic, even as gender employment gaps widened. We are particularly encouraged by how women in the UAE are embracing online learning in the field of STEM. We strongly believe that a tight collaboration between governments, businesses and universities is helping create more opportunities for women."

Dr. Ron Young, Founder of Knowledge Associates International group of companies, said in a virtual address, "New hybrid, physical and virtual, knowledge competencies and performance management systems are emerging. But the key future demand and new employment opportunity for women will be for those that can learn to produce faster knowledge-driven results, through personal and team knowledge management systems."