More students will be hired straight from school into workplaces, according to a leading educator in the country. Dino Varkey, group CEO of GEMS Education, said that over the next decade more companies in the UAE will hire students as soon as they graduate from school.
“The Silicon Valley companies have been doing it for ages,” he said. “And now, companies in the UAE are also beginning to do it. It is happening on the margins, but it will become more commonplace in the next ten years or so. With the changing technology, companies will get tired of waiting for a good talent pool. So, they will engage with K-12 schools much earlier to get fresh graduates and train them”
Dino explained how tech giants in Silicon Valley have been engaging with students for at least 15 years. “Some of the top companies, like Microsoft, Google and others, have been engaging with and recruiting high school graduates for a long time,” he said. “Of course, they continue hiring from top engineering colleges for the tech part. However, for other areas, they hire young school graduates and train them.”
Partnering with industry leaders
To ensure that their students have the necessary skills, the group has now developed an entire wing called ‘GEMS for life’. Part of the aim of this wing is to improve the employability of students.
GEMS Education is now partnering with industry leaders to give their students the necessary exposure. Dino gave the example of the Mind the Gap report by auditing company KMPG. “[They] launched alongside our students this paper about aspirations,” he said. “Our students co-wrote that paper along with KMPG consultants. That is just a small example where our kids are already engaging with the industry.”
Launched in June this year, the report surveyed more than 800 high school students- between the ages of 15 and 18- in the UAE about their career goals, influences and perceived obstacles.
Schools will do what colleges are doing
According to Dino, with the rapidly changing technology impacting tertiary education, schools are the real beneficiaries. “A lot of what universities do will be done by school,” he said. “Top tier national universities will always be in demand. But soon schools will teach students the skills currently taught by tertiary institutes. I think it is a bit ludicrous that students have to spend 15 years going through their K-12 education.”
He also said that with students absorbing and assimilating knowledge at a much faster pace, schools will have to up their game. “This means that the depth of what our children should be doing in school will be much greater,” he said. “And the mastery of what they can do will have to be much quicker.”