Are we training for tomorrow’s realities?

Darren Parkin

Our society and economy is facing a radical digital transformation. We are entering the era of convergence within the 4th Industrial Revolution where the integration of social, business and political advances will force companies to enter an “unknown zone”.

Blockchain technology seems to be the driving force of this convergence, and the competition for technology talent grows continuously.

Generation Z – today’s young people – are already reshaping the employment landscape. A quick search on LinkedIn reveals more than 4,000 blockchain jobs, on indeed.com another 3,000, and several thousand more for AI, IoT and other related technologies.

These are just two of the global sites which list technology-related positions. Moreover, in a recent study, Deloitte released highlights of a survey conducted between February 8 and March 4, 2019. Their survey polled 1,386 senior executives from several countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States).

Strategic priorities

These executives came from companies with more than $500m in annual revenue. The results show that 53% of the respondents consider blockchain technology as one of the top strategic priorities for their organisations, showing a 10% increase over the last year.

Competencies in demand range from complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, judgement and decision-making. While professions vary from data analysts and scientists, AI and machine learning specialists, software application developers, Big Data specialists, digital transformation specialists, and blockchain experts.

Steps towards that direction are taken by several universities – not easy as technology changes by the day and they are not even sure where to focus. In addition, resources for such expertise, even at universities are scarce. Despite the fact that most universities are willing to hire new faculty and staff, it is hard to find the right experts.

The University of Nicosia in Cyprus started offering its MSc in Digital Currency back in 2014. For several years, they were alone in the market. Some scattered courses were offered by universities across the globe such as MIT, Duke University, Stanford University, Imperial College and New York University.

Importance

The importance of blockchain technology has now been recognised by many other universities across the globe such as the University of Malta, the Universidad Europea de Madrid, the EADA Business School, Northeastern University, the University of British Columbia and many more.

At the same time, the European Commission through the Erasmus+ program is pushing forward such training as the DLT4ALL project – “A Knowledge Alliance for Blockchain in Academic, Entrepreneurial and Investment Training”.

DLT4ALL is addressing the lack of European entrepreneurs, students, angel-investors and incubator managers in understanding and exploiting Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. This is done through the co-creation of a blockchain related curriculum among its eight partners in order to facilitate digital disruption based on the disintermediating power and transparency of the technology, igniting the modernization of participating HEIs’ curricula, commercial business models and early-stage investing practices within and beyond DLT4All participants.

For better training and education for tomorrow’s realities and unleashing the power of the technology for a better socio-economic future, collaboration with different stakeholders – public sector, private sector, different industries – needs to take place with universities and training centres to identify, design and develop the right curricula for the young people that will enter the job market.

Soulla Louca

 



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