Acting Today to Meet Skills Gaps in the Future
Editorial, Energy, Feature, Green
August 5, 2019, 7:45 am
By Dr Matar Al Neyadi, Chairman, 24th World Energy Congress; Undersecretary, UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry
In the last decades the UAE has been transformed into one of the world’s most advanced economies and transformative business environments, through the energy, vision and entrepreneurship of a generation; we are acutely aware that we need to enthuse the next generation to grasp the baton to maintain this progress.
I ever more frequently find conversations with my colleagues at the highest level of both government and business turning towards concern over the future energy professional. There are fears that we are approaching a perfect storm in this area: an ageing population of existing energy professionals (which in some disciplines is frankly alarming); competition from other industries luring young talent with attractive salaries; and a radically shifting business environment that provokes skills uncertainty. How can we prepare a workforce for jobs that don’t yet exist? This is not just a UAE problem, it is a global problem.
This gap between the ageing energy workforce and motivating the next generation has to be met to ensure we can realise our long-term strategic energy goals, to reliably meet the energy needs of today, and to provide a heathy pipeline of innovation to transition to into a more sustainable, secure and equitable energy future.
It is my belief that there are at least two critical steps that we must undertake to ensure better human capital health. Firstly, the market needs better PR – to sell being an energy professional as a secure, well-paid job that commands the respect that is only earnt by contributing to human progress. Secondly, to develop educational programmes that provide a pipeline of young professionals who
can reinforce technical capability with transferable business skills – skills such as complex problem-solving, communication and negotiation, emotional intelligence, techniques for innovation and creativity, and confident decision-making. There are few jobs in any market that do not reward these skills, and if we can develop programmes that hardwire them into our talent pool then we will ensure the health of both the profession and the market itself.
My role as Chairman of the 24th World Energy Congress Organising Committee is not to provide answers, or to simply shine a light on the issues facing the global energy market today, but to invite the world’s leading authorities to meet and address these issues. It is an honour to be hosting the World Energy Congress in the Middle East for the first time in its 95-year history, and I am confident that you will join us to ensure that this is marked in history as an event that shaped the future of energy.
Credit – 24th World Energy Congress