Education and Employability in times of crisis

Prof. David Holliman
Prof. David Holliman

Birmingham City University ensures that the investment in your education gives financial returns in the employment market.

By Prof. David Holliman

Published: Tue 24 Nov 2020, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Tue 24 Nov 2020, 11:51 AM

How many times have we heard phrases like 'the new normal' and 'things will never go back the way they were'? Well, it is true, but isn't that the natural evolution of time anyway? We are consistently being asked to unlearn, change, and re-learn to changes in technology, operating environment, and legislation. The question we really should be asking ourselves is, 'How can I ensure that I have the skills and qualifications to give me the best possible opportunities in the workplace?'. There could be a 20-page answer to this question but in short summary it would be to focus on future-proofing. Not just to look at what skills and expertise you need to do your job today, but at what skills and expertise you may need tomorrow. I reflect on the days when I was at school and everyone was talking about IQ, as though your intelligence was the measure of success. Then in my early career, the thinking had evolved, we were talking about EQ with emotional and social factors taking the forefront. Now we discuss AQ, the concept of 'adaptive intelligence' suggesting that one of the key values for any person is now their ability to adapt to volatile environment.

One thing that we can celebrate in the UAE is the diversity we enjoy in our population. Every day we rub shoulders with people from all corners of the globe. However, that too presents its challenges. With massive cultural variation comes substantive cultural differences. Having spent the last 11 years in the UAE, travelled to 98 countries, and a PhD in cultural studies, I can say with some authority that the people residing in this nation have some of the best cross-cultural expertise I have had the pleasure of working with. So, to the question in hand, how do you ensure that any education that you undertake enables you to earn more either in terms of the salary you can command from the labour market, or from the opportunities you take as a business owner? This comes with ensuring that any university qualification studied is appropriate for the market in which you operate and that you use that newly acquired knowledge and understanding to enhance your prospects.

I would like at this juncture to welcome to the UAE one of the UK's top universities in ensuring that their graduates are successful in the workplace, Birmingham City University. The university ranked seventh in the UK for employability in the league tables with over 97 per cent of graduates being either employed or in further study after six months. BCU is globally renowned for providing quality, student-focused education in a professional and friendly environment. The BCU campus in UK has around 24,000 students from 80 countries and now has a branch campus here in the UAE with the degrees being issued from the U.K. BCU put students at the heart of everything executed, giving them the best opportunities for future success with all programs being internationally accredited.

The unique features include

. Enhanced career prospects: BCU offers career support and advice throughout your time with the university and for up to three years after you graduate. Our Graduate+ scheme embeds career-related skills into every one of our degree courses, from becoming a course rep to studying abroad. Graduate+ embeds career-related skills into every one of their degree courses. A commitment to giving students the skills needed to progress their career.

. Learn from the best: From the UK's leading criminologist to a 'Hot 100' jeweller, our teaching staff come from and maintain links with industry and are some of the leading figures in their fields.

. Practice-based research: Almost 90 per cent of our research was judged to have delivered 'outstanding' or 'very considerable' external impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

. Transformed teaching: BCU have transformed its curriculum with a new range of contemporary, flexible courses with practice-based learning and international opportunities built into every stage. BCU strong team of teaching staff come from and maintain their links with industry and the professions, ensuring you benefit directly from their knowledge, insights, and contacts.

BCU decided to launch its activities in UAE because this region has a passion and reputation for quality and diversity.  This is something that is at the core of BCU's history, and it has sustained such a level since the inception of Birmingham Government School of Design back in 1843. Birmingham City University will strive to realise its vision to transform the region by accelerating business growth and employability within the UAE economy.

BCU Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) account managers work with regional SME leaders to identify the skills their businesses need to achieve their growth objectives and deliver bespoke skills solutions that match their business needs to highly-skilled work-ready graduates and/or employee up-skilling and training opportunities. BCU interdisciplinary collaborations at STEAMhouse help entrepreneurs, SMEs and organizations with strong business ideas but a lack of knowledge, skills or resources to 'plan it, make it and commercialize it'. More than a makerspace, STEAMhouse is a melting pot of technology, facilities, expert knowledge, and specialist skills that put the arts into STEM to drive business innovation and regional growth.

These are just a few of the ways Birmingham City University is helping to transform the region. BCU have a wealth of information they can share about their undergraduate programmes providing details of over their courses and what it is like to study with them in the UAE. Study options include online, blended, and full-time face to face options. As for the Postgraduate programmes, they provide details of all our postgraduate taught and research courses. It also provides information about the research environment at BCU.

BCU is bringing a range of programmes starting in February 2021 including a "one-year MBA program". You can expect the same level of direct supervision and quality standards as you would receive were you to study the programme in the UK as the UAE campus is a part of that university.

It can be hard to know what the right programme is for you and I am sure that wide variety of courses and institutions do not make that decision any easier. That is without the consideration of financial and time implications of undertaking an academic degree. The team at Birmingham City University are committed to offering good advice, they are interested in you and your educational journey. I strongly advise that you have a discussion with one of their student engagement team if you are considering further study for some tailored educational advice to help make the right decision for your future.

Prof. David Holliman is the Director of Partnerships - Birmingham City University, UAE Campus

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