Having the right degrees and skills to face Industry 4.0

A report on “Emerging Technologies Impact on Society & Work in 2030” by Dell Technologies in 2017, revealed that almost 40% of jobs ranging from entry levels to the C-levels will be replaced by 2030.

This is a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, where technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and more, are maturing and going to radically transform the way businesses operate.

Smart systems that are fuelled by data and machine-learning allow decisions to be made without the involvement of human beings, and it is only inevitable that mundane, routine jobs will be replaced as a result of automation and robotics.

This has far-reaching implications for students aspiring to join the workforce of tomorrow, and Institutions of Higher Learning have to play an increasingly pivotal role in ensuring students have skills that are relevant, even when technology changes.

At the Asia Pacific University of Technology and Information (APU), regardless of discipline, all students are empowered with the ability to keep up with the challenges of Industry 4.0 and beyond.

First-of-its-kind Industry 4.0 relevant programmes

In line with Industry 4.0, new job titles emerge, and new talents are needed.

While Industry 4.0 transforms our lives, it also transforms the way a university should deliver knowledge, as well as the forms of knowledge that should be equipped by the future workforce.

This is done through the constant innovation and delivery of a wide range of programmes with Technology as a common core.

APU is developing Industry 4.0-relevant programmes that are first-of-its-kind, such as in Cyber Security, Data Science, IoT, Intelligent Systems and Cloud Computing.

These programmes were carefully designed together with industry advisory panels to equip students with the latest technical and soft skills required by the future job market.

While Industry 4.0 also impacts global the business, accounting and finance spectrum, APU students currently undergoing their studies in Business Management, Accounting, Banking & Finance are also exposed to relevant areas like Financial Technology (FinTech), Digital Marketing, E-Business and Blockchain.

Innovative teaching and learning

World-class facilities within the APU campus support the Industry 4.0-focused teaching and learning process by providing students with an ecosystem for their development.

Creativity and innovation are nurtured through discussion spaces, think tanks and Innovation Labs within APU’s iconic campus, strategically located in Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), Bukit Jalil.

Industrial-grade infrastructure allows students to be exposed to real-time data and scenarios, training them to become competent technology professionals even before they graduate.

For instance, the first-of-its-kind APU CyberSecurity Talent Zone features military-grade real-time cybersecurity monitoring software at the full-fledged Cyber Threats Simulation and Response Centre and Security Operations Centre, providing them real-life exposure and practical experience.

Learning is no longer confined to the classroom; in the era of Industry 4.0, one’s practical knowledge becomes as significant as academic and theoretical knowledge.

Industry 4.0 adoption and development requires a high level of critical thinking skills. Apart from providing world-class facilities, a university is responsible for developing innovative teaching and learning methods, to produce graduates that can think critically, act innovatively and communicate ideas effectively.

Industry-academia partnerships

While a university serves as a platform for developing talent, it is vital to ensure that the talents nurtured are in accordance with the expectations of the industry.

APU’s industrial partnerships with accelerators such as GrowthX Academy and Supercharger further enhance the platform for students to realise their world-changing ideas.

The formula has proven to be a success, as APU students have been well-recognised through their victories in national and international level competitions organised by major industry players, such as FAMELab, Intel-CREST Industry-University Challenge, NASA Space Apps Challenge, World Asian Business Case Competition, SAS FinTech Challenge and many more.

Over 40,000 alumni are employed globally in multinational companies such as Accenture, HP, IBM, Huawei Technologies, Astro, Maybank, Standard Chartered and more.

Nurturing soft skills

Being Industry 4.0-ready also means students must communicate effectively in this era of globalisation and multiculturalism. APU students operate within a globalised campus environment that houses a community of students from more than 120 countries.

A global outlook, international understanding and respect can be nurtured through the continuous immersion in multicultural discourse, as events such as Independence Days, Multicultural Nights and other cultural celebrations take place regularly here.

This continuous cultivation within campus builds students’ confidence and equips them with relevant cross-cultural communication skills, making them workplace-ready even before they graduate.

APU also instills practical workplace skills within the curriculum, to build students’ confidence so they become workplace-ready.

Students dress in professional attire, while adhering to a professional code of conduct on-campus.

Together with over 10,000 industrial partners and potential employers, APU creates an environment that simulates the future workplace, too boost students’ confidence not just for their first jobs but for lifelong careers.

APU is amongst Malaysia’s premier private universities and has earned a reputation as an award-winning university at national and international levels.

It is recognised as among the Highest Rated Emerging Universities in Malaysia, being rated at TIER 5 (EXCELLENT) under the SETARA 2011 Ratings by the Ministry of Higher Education and Malaysian Qualifications Agency, and has maintained this excellence in the SETARA Ratings for 2013 and 2017.

Under the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) 2017 Ratings, APU was awarded 5-Stars in four categories of the QS Stars Ratings – Teaching, Employability, Facilities and Inclusiveness.

The QS stars rating is an international rating system that measures the achievements and qualities of universities worldwide.

In 2017, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation recognised APU as one of Malaysia’s Premier Digital Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) for its commitment in offering top-notch digital technology courses and ensuring highly skilled graduates continue to flourish and fill future digital job demands locally and globally.

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