Tech-Education Gap: Strategies for Empowering the Next-Gen Workforce
“We Have to Make Sure We Equip the New Generation With the Right Skills” - Theodoros Loucaides, Director General at Research & Innovation Foundation
At the TechIsland Summit 2023, industry leaders convened for Panel Discussion No. 7 to address the pressing issue: how can educational institutions and tech giants join hands to cultivate a tech-competent workforce, ensuring Cyprus' ascendancy in the global tech landscape?
Cyprus, despite boasting the highest graduation rates, finds itself grappling with a disconnect. There exists a palpable gap between the tech skills freshly minted graduates possess and what the rapidly-evolving tech industry demands. The situation's gravity is evident in the concurring observations of both the Minister of Education and the Minister of Labor, who underline that the present number of STEM graduates from Cyprus falls short of market necessities.
Maria Nicolaou Christou, Acting Director at Cyprus Productivity Centre, brought forth potential solutions to tackle this concern. She stated, "The prospect of granting work after graduation is on the table as part of the measures being discussed to improve the attractiveness of university education in Cyprus." Simultaneously, she highlighted the proactive steps taken by the Cyprus Productivity Centre in offering IT training for individuals aged 55 and above.
TechIsland Board Member and CEO of University of Nicosia & Edex, Antonis Polemitis, underscored the importance of Cyprus holding a competitive edge, especially in attracting overseas students. "We need to have a competitive offer for students from third countries relative to Europe," he noted, adding that it's crucial "to solve the regulatory barrier of bringing in and retaining talent." Theodoros Loucaides, Director General at Research & Innovation Foundation, voiced the urgent need for an adept educational revamp. He emphasized, "We have to make sure we equip the new generation with the right skills," highlighting the responsibility that both the tech sector and educational institutions share in this mission.
Addressing the roles tech companies play, Vitaly Gordeev, Principal Engineering Manager at JetBrains, affirmed, "We are working not only with universities but also with local and global partners to provide training." This sentiment was echoed by Dmitry Selikhov, Regional Business Director at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, who mentioned their budding interest in collaborating with educational institutions.
Beyond the hard skills, the panel unanimously agreed on the indispensability of soft skills, emphasizing that these are equally paramount in securing Cyprus' position in a competitive global milieu.
Moderated by Christos Onoufriou, the discussion was a testament to TechIsland Summit's commitment to fostering innovation, sharing insights, and driving growth. The Summit, a confluence of over 300 notable figures from government, tech, and business sectors, serves as a beacon for all companies to discern what potentials and opportunities Cyprus holds for their expansion and growth in the tech arena.
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