Partnerships for the Future

Partnerships for the Future

by
John Lombard

CEO, Dimension Data Asia Pacific

It is time to discuss what skills next gen workers will need. John Lombard, CEO of Dimension Data Asia Pacific, envisions and shares how partnerships between businesses and educational institutions can be greatly beneficial in preparing our future generations for tomorrow’s digital workplace.

Much has been discussed about the workplace of the future – what it will look like, when it will happen, and more importantly, if enough is being done to ensure that current and future generations of workers are ready for it. One thing is for certain – technology plays a big part and is accelerated by the rise of smart cities, automation, and the Internet of Things.

As the workforce’s first training grounds, educational institutions have been increasingly adapting curricula to keep students and teachers abreast of the latest technologies and its application in the industry. They enable students and teachers to be creative and innovate through technology.

Yet, there is still more to be done. Businesses and industry experts should work together with the existing efforts of the government and schools to improve the learning experience and workplace readiness of the students.

We are starting to see remarkable outcomes as businesses and educational institutions partner to improve the classroom experience, in hopes of ultimately preparing future generations of professionals to enter tomorrow’s workplace with confidence.

Enabling better learning experiences through increased exploration

In an age where students are digital natives, working together with businesses to incorporate technology-enriched programmes in the school curriculum can provide students with a more engaging and dynamic learning environment. Through collaborative communication technologies, a new facet of interaction can be introduced for students and teachers alike.

The Camberwell Girls Grammar School, for example, partnered with a technology solutions provider to implement a full suite of new technologies including a digital collaboration and communications platform. With this platform, teachers could facilitate several interactive activities during class. This included virtual science and chemical experiments, allowing students to see amazing reactions of dangerous experiments that they otherwise would not have been able to carry out in the classroom. Show and Share was introduced to the students. This allowed the students to produce and upload videos to learn from each other’s experiments and compare experimental outcomes. The students are also able to connect with different experts who reside in other parts of the world.

Students are encouraged to be more creative and innovative in exploring new things through this interactive, technology-enabled platform. This is an important step in preparing them for their future workplace, where working in tandem with smart technologies and their peers will become reality.

Facilitating transformation through digital infrastructure

As educational institutions adopt new technologies to facilitate better learning, they need to ensure that the underlying digital infrastructure can support these new solutions. It is also crucial to ensure that advanced cybersecurity is applied to protect the applications and data within the infrastructure.

At Dimension Data, we recently had the privilege of partnering with Avantika University, India’s first design-thinking-centred education institution. The university wanted to update its digital infrastructure to support its vision of creating a unique design ecosystem in central India. After helping them implement their new Hyper-Converged infrastructure, the university managed to offer better facilities to students. At the same time, they ensured that their intellectual property is always secure and reduced costs by up to 20 percent.

Beyond the improved delivery of information and the lesson experience, the transformation of digital infrastructure will have an underlying impact on tomorrow’s workforce.

It will ensure that they have the tools to innovate in a digitally-enabled environment, and eventually be equipped to make a difference in the future through technology.

Familiarising students with the industries of the digital workplace

Another important aspect of partnerships includes businesses sharing their industry experiences and innovations with educational institutions. Career talks, company visits, and work experience opportunities allow students to grasp industry experience and insights even before they begin their careers. These also allow educators to understand current market demands, and update their curriculum to better prepare their students for the digital workplace.

Companies such as Microsoft and Huawei are among some of the many industry names that regularly engage with educational and tertiary institutions through career talks and internship programmes for students. Through such partnerships, students can apply the skills they learned from school and realise its tangible benefits. They can be exposed to how digitalisation and technological advances transform operations and developments in local industries.

Looking Ahead

As we navigate the workplace of the future, educational experiences need to evolve to ensure that future generations stay relevant and are ready to meet the demands of a constantly changing environment.

When educational institutions form partnerships with businesses that have the know-how in integrating technology and innovation within every day, it will pave the way for would-be professionals to have the optimism and relevant skill-sets to embrace their digitised workplace and meet challenges head-on.

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