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Middlesex University Dubai represents the Academia at the I-UP 2014


On Wednesday 10 December 2014, Dr. John Sutton and Dr. Fehmida Hussain represented Middlesex University Dubai at The Industry and University Partnerships “I-UP” Forum a series of workshops with representatives from universities in Dubai, as well as leaders from industry sectors.  The forum was designed to bring together professionals from universities, industry and government to discuss potential collaborations, partnerships, research and business development opportunities.

Dr. John Sutton took part in the workshop on Hospitality & Tourism accompanied by Mr, Mukesh Vandasani, Vice President, Learning and Development, Atlantis Kerzner Group; Mr. Ron Hilvert, Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and Mr. Sunjeh Raja, Director and CEO, International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai. The session was moderated by Ms. Keriann Kozub – a MBA student from Hult Business School who posed the following questions to the panel:

  1. Is the Hospitality and Tourism Sector in the UAE prepared for Expo 2020 and beyond?
  2. Do we have qualified staff in the region to cater to this?
  3. Will the staff need to be brought in from overseas or trained locally?
  4. What skill sets do graduates need to succeed in this industry?

The panel generally concurred that whilst the industry has, or can obtain sufficient qualified management level staff there needs to be a huge injection of operational level staff to cope with the growth in Tourism demand that will be generated by Expo 2020. It anticipated that much of these would need to be brought in from overseas, but suggested that it would be beneficial for both industry and government to collaborate on developing entry level and craft skills training for the sector within the UAE, and that all levels of education are innovative and relevant and that this needs to be driven on a sector-wide scale. Further the panel agreed staff for Hospitality & Tourism need to first possess good people skills but can be trained in operational areas.

Dr. Fehmida Hussain was one of the panellist on the ICT track along with Hemal Shah, Director – Insight and Customer Strategy, Oracle; Dr. Naguib Attia Chief Technology Officer & Vice President, IBM Middle East & Africa and Dr Anand Kumar, Associate Dean of Academic and Resource Planning. Bits Pilani Dubai.

The session was moderated by Dhruv Datta – student from SP Jain School of Global Management who posed the following questions to the panel:

  1. Are we ready to shift Dubai into a “Smart City?”
  2. Do we have the infrastructure and internet backbone to facilitate this vision?
  3. Do we have the qualified staff to fill the roles with the correct skill sets needed?
  4. Are we prepared for the various security and privacy issues with developing a smart city project?

In 2013, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched a strategic initiative called the ‘Smart City’ which focuses on providing a high quality lifestyle for citizens and residents. The initiative aims at linking the emirate’s government services and the public through the use of smart devices accessed freely using high-speed wireless internet connections. The panel unanimously agreed that no doubt Dubai has the infrastructure and the internet backbone to facilitate transformation into a Smart City.  The latest in mobile networking (Gen 4), Fiber optic internet connectivity and the infrastructure is ready. There is no dearth of qualified staff; however, the main issues remain security and privacy of data. The panel also discussed that there is more need for research in educational institutions, partnerships with academia and industry bridging the gap between the two sectors to prepare the graduates to fulfil the needs for such initiatives.




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