Digital skills are no longer centred around information technology (IT). Rather, they have become one of those skills that is embedded across the breadth of any digital-aspiring organisation.
This was highlighted by Brunei LNG Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Hajah Farida binti Dato Seri Paduka Haji Talib in a recent interview following the ASEAN Business and Investment Roundtable held on September 29.
Speaking on the event, Hajah Farida said that the roundtable aimed to provide an understanding of the changing nature of the future of work in Southeast Asia as well as an assessment of the skills gap in ASEAN across the industry.
She noted it looked at identifying how to develop the right skill sets needed for an economy to be ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a future with COVID-19.
A major focus of the roundtable was ‘Skills for a Digital Age’.
Sharing her perspective, Hajah Farida said, “When we look at skills for a digital age, we are looking beyond just generic digital and technological skills. We are looking at our ability to function critically and effectively in a digitally enhanced environment such as flexibility, adaptability and being a lifelong learner.”
She explained that digital skills are not new and have always been important, adding that “digital skill” is nothing more than an era-appropriate term for “innovative new ways of working”.
“Did you know that about 60 per cent of all occupations have at least 30 per cent of work tasks and activities that could be automated? However, it is important to note that tools and technologies such as automation are not possible without humans. Capable humans who continue to adapt, get new skills through training and credentials is what the industry needs.”
“Digital skills without analytical skills, creative skills and human skills will not prepare any generation, whether young or old, to interact with machines. We need a balance of all skills – that is the best way to prepare for the constant changes in our environment; combining digital technology, people and business strategy,” continued Hajah Farida.
“We need to realise that digital skills are no longer centred around just IT or those who look after IT in an organisation. Rather it has become one of those skills that is embedded across the breadth of any digital-aspiring organisation. Across the globe, more than eight in 10 middle-skill jobs (82 per cent) require digital skills, a four-per-cent increase since 2014.”
She added that technology is changing at a rapid rate, so digital skills and capabilities will continue to grow in importance. The best way to prepare for this change in skills is to be flexible and open to growth and adaptation in this space.
Asked on Brunei LNG’s activities with regards to being equipped and prepared with skills for a digital age, Hajah Farida shared, “Like our pioneering roots in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) space, Brunei LNG is at the forefront in the digitalisation space, where engineers are doing proactive technical monitoring of the plant and advancing process optimisation through data analysis.”
She highlighted that Brunei LNG has already delivered additional millions to the company’s bottom line by designing a plant that is constantly looking for more gas from its upstream suppliers.
“This automated feed system is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that all available gas to the plant is consumed.”
She also said that in the near future, Brunei LNG will be investing significantly into making a digital twin of its facility, giving engineers and operations staff a digital version of the plant to interact with.
“This will help in areas of operations, specifically in monitoring and improving energy efficiency, maintenance, and even safety from incident response planning to how a crane should move within the plant for maintenance work.”
“We are also investing in capabilities and tools that allow execution of technical activities in parallel with on-line connection of engineers and specialists from worldwide locations enabling them to participate in repair operations virtually. This will transform the way we work – reducing the number of specialists required to fly into the country, therefore also reducing all emissions associated with travel. Digitalisation ensures we can continue to produce LNG safely, efficiently and reliably especially in this COVID-19 era where travel is very restricted.”
She noted that the possibilities are vast and endless, but Brunei LNG is generally targeting the areas of visualisation, data analytics such as optimising maintenance, plant operation as well as materials supply chain, digital twin technology and digitalised operations such as operators with mixed reality aids. “Digitalisation is often mistaken to be all about technology when in fact technology is just the enabler. Digitalisation is all about the data and the people and Brunei LNG is actively investing in building this digital capability for the organisation. Upskilling our local Bruneians to be digitally savvy and digitally literate creating a highly skilled workforce ready for the future of work.”
Hajah Farida said that this ties in with Brunei Vision 2035 ambition to be a Smart Nation driven by Digital Government, Digital Economy and Digital Society. “This means going beyond enabling connectivity by leveraging on digital technologies and enriching our society with the necessary skills and knowledge. Brunei has 95 per cent mobile broadband coverage and a mobile phone usage of 134 per cent so we are very blessed as a nation to be so connected, especially when compared with the rest of ASEAN.”
“Digitalisation presents the country with the opportunity to create a vibrant and sustainable economy as a result of digital sector growth and transformation, a digital and future-ready society with increased digital literacy rates and improved quality of life through inclusive access to digital services, and a digitally conducive ecosystem with skilled people and ICT readiness and infrastructure.”
The ASEAN Business and Investment Roundtable aimed to provide an understanding of the changing nature of the future of work in Southeast Asia as well as an assessment of the skills gap in ASEAN across the industry. Hajah Farida noted that it looked at identifying how to develop the right skill sets needed for an economy to be ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a future with COVID-19.
Two specific topics looked at during the panel discussions were the Future of Work and Skills for a Digital Age. The discussions had a variety of esteemed panellists from Brunei Darussalam and the region looking at innovation and business transformation changing how employees operate, and how to best prepare for the changing skills needs across ASEAN.
“It truly was an honour to represent Brunei LNG, opening the roundtable alongside Minister of Education of Brunei Darussalam Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman; Chair of the ASEAN Business and Investment Roundtable on Skills for a Digital Age and CEO of Dynamik Technologies Haslina binti Haji Mohd Taib; and ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) Chair and Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman,” said Hajah Farida.
“As joint lead sponsor for the series of ASEAN-BAC events and roundtables, Brunei LNG sees great value in supporting platforms like this. Not only does it help us grow as a business, it reaffirms our commitment to the nation as a key contributor in achieving Brunei Vision 2035 goals towards a dynamic and sustainable economy, and Smart Nation. Secondly, it reaffirms our commitment to ASEAN as an industry leader in preparing for future opportunities and challenges; and prospering together in a unified region. Last but not least, it reaffirms our commitment globally as an energy provider in providing sustainable energy solutions to our customers overseas.”