Technology is like this big disrupting force that refuses to go away. From AirBnB to Microsoft Azure to ride-sharing platforms, these companies are leveraging on smarter and better technology to upend entire industries and livelihoods.
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution looms over humanity, the rate of new advances in technology will only accelerate – fundamentally altering the way we live, work and relate to one another.
Are today’s graduates ready for this? Are tertiary education institutes equipping them with the right skills to adapt to more changes to come, including the aftermath of COVID-19?
Dr Hoffmann is a veteran in the field, with experience working in management and leadership roles in business and higher education sectors in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
She notes that the integration of new technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), hyper-automation, in addition to the rise of ethical technology to help make decisions are just some of the ways technology will impact businesses in the next five years.
Today’s graduates need to be work-ready to capitalise on these changes. Among the key skill gaps Dr Hoffmann identified are knowledge of the full potential of the new technologies for their industry, digital skills, data analytics and business intelligence, in addition to governance skills of technology innovation.
Narrowing the digital transformation divide
So what can graduates or professionals do better to prepare for the future job market?
They could apply to EIT, according to Dr Hoffmann.
EIT is preparing students for the future workplace and for these coming trends in digital transformation through its industry-focused programmes, such as the Master of Digital Business, Master in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and its Master of Information Technology (MIT).
These are courses under the School of Business and School of Computing, which both work closely with industry to identify business needs and enable students to get real-life experiences to facilitate their learning.
Their Digital Business programme is part of a suite of new programmes that received NZQA approval. These new programmes cover the latest digital know-how and are delivered at both the Hawke’s Bay and the Auckland campuses; they’ve been developed in response to the increased demand for tech-savvy managers.
The Digital Business programme is ideal for graduates of computing, IT, business or a related field and focuses on providing a management perspective on contemporary and emerging technologies. Graduates will be equipped with the ability to harness digital technologies, enabling them to manage technology for businesses and effect digital transformation for organisations.
Speaking about the programme, Dr Hoffmann said: “The employability of graduates is our number one focus. With their advanced digital skills, graduates will meet the growing demand for digital know-how and will be highly sought-after on the job-market.”
A crucial ingredient to making this a reality for this programme and for all EIT programmes are the passionate and supportive faculty members at the institute.
“Faculty members are passionate about helping students to succeed in their studies by being accessible, supportive and by sharing their professional experiences,” said Dr Hoffmann.
“It is our common goal to equip our students with all the skills needed at the workplace. We make them work-ready from day one!”
Supporting technology capability
Producing “work-ready” students isn’t just a slogan at EIT. It’s a fact.
Internships and industry projects are what enable students to bring to life the digital skills they are learning in classrooms – and there are plenty of these opportunities at EIT.
“They see the digital transformation happening in front of their eyes. Having practical learning opportunities enables students to understand how their future workplace could look like and they can engage with a potential future employer,” she explains.
At EIT, students get to do this at Hawke’s Bay, home to some of the country’s most exciting and fast-growing technology businesses.
The Hawke’s Bay Hub was founded with the support of Business Hawke’s Bay, leading local technology entrepreneurs, EIT and some of the region’s largest companies. It connects technology specialists across all sectors and work to attract, retain and develop talent to meet the needs of business; and build hi-tech innovation and knowledge to help businesses start-up, scale-up or tech-up for future growth, among other things.