Dubai, November 3, 2022: The UAE Ministry of Economy today hosted ‘NextGen Talent’, a first-of-its-kind virtual forum designed to help UAE-based students acquire the skills critical for the industries of the future. The event attracted more than 5,000 students from across the country, who gained a range of expertise and insights on thriving in an evolving digital landscape from leading global technology players.
NextGen Talent is an initiative from the Ministry of Economy in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and overseen by His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Minister in charge of Talent Attraction and Retention. The event aimed to empower and prepare future leaders in the technology sector by offering world-class skills guidance in the fields of advanced technology and the industries of the future. The initiative aligns with the Ministry of Economy’s efforts to accelerate economic diversification as set down in the Principles of the 50 in September last year.
His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of Education, delivered a keynote address to the students on why initiatives such as NextGen Talent confirm the UAE’s ongoing commitment to the nation’s youth, and praised the UAE’s educational institutions for implementing steps to promote digitally-driven courses such as artificial intelligence, computer science and engineering.
The NextGen Talent forum, which was sponsored by leading fintech platforms Capital.com and Currency.com, welcomed senior executives from META, Oracle, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Stripe, VMWare, Finclusive, FinCEN, SureStart, Hedera, FourthBrain, APCO Worldwide, Verse Estates, Espresso Systems and the Crypto Council for Innovation, who offered advice on improving advanced technology skills to help stand out in a competitive job market. Moderators included editor-in-chief of The National, Mina Al-Oraibi, former CNN anchor and host Maggie Lake, and University of Wollongong in Dubai Director of Computer Science and Information Technology Programs, Dr May El Barachi.
H.E Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Minister Responsible for Talent Attraction and Retention, opened the forum by highlighting the need to harness the limitless talent and passion of the UAE’s brightest young minds. “We understand the potential of technology to drive an exciting new era of growth for the country, where the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will reshape our economy and transform the UAE into a global hub for innovation,” he said. “But we also recognize that this vision requires motivated, highly skilled, homegrown talent. NextGen Talent is an important bridge connecting the world of academia and the world of work, and the insights shared by some of the leading lights of the local, regional and international technology sector will help inspire our students to go on and contribute to our industrial transformation journey.”
This was followed by an address from the founder of Capital.com and Currency.com, Viktor Prokopenya, who stressed the importance of empowering the UAE’s talent pool with the skills to navigate the abstract world of the knowledge economy.
Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, one of the companies participating in the event, noted that the next generation is probably the most important renewable asset companies have, and hiring, educating and training those coming out of college has always been a critical piece of the company’s strategy.
Major speakers from world-leading companies covered a spectrum of important topics across the digital landscape, including:
- META Marketing Science Director for Middle East, Africa CEE and Russia, Tony Evans gave students a glimpse of what it takes to work at the global social media platform. META’s Head of Content and User Understanding, Eman Barhoumeh, also contributed to a session on understanding career opportunities in artificial intelligence – on both the technical and non-technical sides.
- VMWare’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for EMEA, Joe Baguley, advised students on staying ahead of the tech curve when looking for jobs once they graduate.
- Amazon’s Vice President for MENA and Co-Founder at Souq, Ronaldo Mouchawar, gave his own unique viewpoint on the evolutions in the cloud technology market and the future direction of the sector.
Google and Microsoft
- Google Cloud’s Client Director of UK & Ireland, Assil Arajy, and Microsoft Strategic Programs and Partnerships Leader, Hamad Matter spoke on Non-Tech Perspectives such as negotiation relationship management. Google Head of Marketing for MENA, Najeeb Jarrar, also discussed the importance of a strong CV and interview technique.
- Capital.com’s CEO Tarik Chebib discussed the unlimited potential for technology across the financial sector and gave insights into personal branding and trading.
NextGen Talent followed the July launch of the Ministry of Economy’s landmark NextGenFDI program, which is designed to attract digitally-empowered companies to the UAE. NextGen Talent and NextGenFDI will complement each other, with companies from the NextGenFDI initiative supporting the transfer of knowledge, technology and skillsets to the next generation of youth in the UAE.