The Workforce Planning Study by Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) in conjunction with Deloitte examined whether the UAE's education programmes are serving the needs of the industry and found there was an increase in demand for skills associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Healthcare spending across the region is set to be double in 2015 what it was in 2010 as a result of the increasing incidence of chronic lifestyle diseases, an increase in government budget allocation and mandatory insurance usage.
All of those factors will put a strain on healthcare sectors, including in the UAE. The study of more than 2,400 students across 17 MENA markets showed that these factors have created an increase in demand for specialised skills, such as medical and laboratory technology, especially at entry and middle levels.
Hospital management and clinical data management skills were identified as areas in which there was a shortage of senior level employees.
The discussion, held by DuBiotech and DIAC addressed the need to encourage more students into the life sciences sector to stimulate innovation and address the over reliance on imported medicine.The experts agreed that to better develop a knowledge-based economy, greater collaboration between industry, academia and government is required.
Marwan Abdulaziz, executive director of TECOM Investments' Sciences Cluster, which includes DuBiotech and Enpark, said: "The main objective behind this workshop was to facilitate better collaboration between academia, industry and the government to tackle the skills shortfall and develop a common area of dialogue to address this issue.
Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director of DIAC and Dubai Knowledge Village, said: "The demand for STEM education is high as STEM skills have been instrumental in building knowledge-based economies that thrive on innovation and production. Armed with the finding from the study, we are working with our existing academic partners towards delivering programmes and curricula aligned with the sector's needs.
"We welcome opportunities and initiatives as a result of industry-academia collaborations. This effort ties back to the government's wider vision to develop the region's talent pool and achieve sustainable economic growth," Ayoub added.
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