ABU DHABI - Amid unprecedented change, the principle of lifelong learning is assuming ever greater importance as workforces strive to remain relevant.
During a session entitled Human Development for Economy Growth at the second Aqdar World Summit in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Guo Xiangcen, principal manager at Singapore-based SkillsFuture, spoke on the topic "Human Capital Development for the Future of Work", in the process highlighting Singapore’s skills development effort.
Xiangcen said: "Human capital development has become increasingly important in any country’s key agenda, especially more so given the unprecedented change brought by massive technological advancements and innovation. How do we then prepare our people for the future of work?"
She shared how Singapore has invested in human capital development, as well as the re-definition of the importance of education and lifelong learning.
The Aqdar Summit is an international platform that aims to develop sustainable societies, empower individuals and support important initiatives and awareness programmes that benefit communities across the globe.
The summit calls for "Nourishing Minds, Flourishing Nations" and the theme this year is the "Role of Human Empowerment in Developing Stable Societies: Sustainable Development".
Xiangcen said she was engaged in studies to see how workforces will look 15 years from now.
"We are inundated about research and development and living in rapid and very fast-changing environment. New opportunities and new jobs are always being created and this requires flexible, skilled work forces."
She said human capital needed to be adaptable enough to be able to change on-site as the work environment and job situation demanded.
She said modern economies generally operated on 40 to 50-year cycles and had moved from hierachial structures to very flat reporting structures, which were highly competitive and in which "individuals who have the ability to jobcraft brings the greatest value".
She said more and more jobs were being taken over by machines and robotics and the question was "how do we prepare our human capital for tomorrow?"
"We have to continually find ways to develop our staff."
She said Singapore had started a futures office, which was not crystal ball gazing but a "lot of R&D to try and see what the future holds for us".
The future would consist of pre-employment training and education and then "continuing education for life, or life-long learning" she said.
She said economies would require an "integrated system that responds to evolving needs, in order to help individuals make well-informed choices in education and training, regardless of their starting point".
One of Singapore's strategies was the development of a one-stop portal where job seekers or those already in employment could see what jobs were in demand and base their training and education accordingly.
The Aqdar summit, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the UAE.
The summit brings together leaders and experts from various fields to discuss issues around sustainable development and empowerment.