Train students for jobs of tomorrow, urges LegCo member

|     Danial Norjidi     |

CONSTRUCTION is one of the bottom-two sectors in terms of embracing digital technology, Legislative Council (LegCo) mem-ber and  Institution of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA) Brunei President Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman highlighted yesterday, citing a study on the industry.

She was delivering a presentation entitled ‘Developing Digital Culture, Mindset and Capacity in the Construction Industry’ during the Joint ASEAN Chartered Professional Engineer Coordinating Committee (ACPE-CC) and ASEAN Architect Council (AAC) Roundtable at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty added that while other industries are radically modernising their workflow processes, construction “remains one of the most stagnant major industries in the world”.

“The industry is still using many of the methods first deployed in the 19th Century,” she said. “If construction companies run their back office operations in an outdated and pre-digital way, productivity will continue to be hampered. “For businesses to thrive, they need to be properly managed, using modern tools. Again, training our workforce is another thing that we have to look into, because [the industry environment] is ever-changing.”

Speaking about future technology in the construction industry, she said, “The first one is data analytics. Data analytics is basically applied to determine the indication of any changes. This is one of the tools being used in Western countries as well, especially for complex buildings. So this will enable people to identify the risks.”

Legislative Council member and Institution of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA) Brunei President Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman speaks during the meeting. – BAHYIAH BAKIR

She said augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can help engage stakeholders, noting that instead of using animation to present buildings, by using VR, people can actually walk through the building, allowing for engagement with clients and stakeholders.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozai-meriyanty moved on next to real-time monitoring, highlighting that “it is always important to have real-time data”.

“In terms of monitoring during the construction stage, the use of drones, Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and real-time communication, all these are coming up in the construction industry,” she said.

She highlighted the impor-tance of a tripartite of strategic partners – government, the private sector and education – in understanding the barriers to change in the sector and to develop workforce strategies.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty began her presentation speaking about the four industrial revolutions, noting that the first occurred in the 18th Century with water and steam, the second in the late 19th Century with electricity, and the third in the late 20th Century with automation.

“Now we’re actually embarking on the fourth industrial revolution, a [digital revamping of the world we live in],” she said, sharing that this includes technology such as the IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D printing.

Touching on digital culture, she said that it is ideal to prepare for the advancement of this digital era, and that the pace of industry transformation is currently unprecedented.

“Digital culture has changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we play, and also how we socialise,” she said.

“Moving forward from digital to contextual intelligence and grasping the power it represents, developments such as AI, 3D printing and many others do not exist on their own, but actually build upon each other and amplify one another. Together the interactions between the technological, socioeconomic, geopolitical and demographic developments will generate new categories [of work].

“These developments will change the skillsets required of all occupations in most industries.”

She continued, “The jobs that exist today might not have existed [for a long time], and even in five years some of these jobs will not be [in existence] anymore.”

She pointed out that governments will need to entail innovation in education, adding that “we cannot build jobs just for today”, and “have to think of jobs for tomorrow”.

She also noted the trend of companies becoming more specialised and operating with smaller numbers of staff.

“In order to meet the new talent and skills challenges brought about by this prospective business model disruption, companies need to pursue a range of innovative workforce strategies providing employees with wider exposure to roles across their firms,” she said.

She cited information from the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the most needed hard and soft skills in 2019.

The WEF stated that the top five hard skills are cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, people management and UX design, while the top five soft skills are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty, citing information from Forbes, also highlighted the five characteristics organisations should embrace to create a digital culture: customer-centric; collaborative; responsive and agile; transparent and open; and risk-taking and innovation.

Relaying some words of advice to conclude her presentation, she said, “Your business won’t digitally transform until your people do. Train students for the jobs of tomorrow as training them for the jobs of today is no longer relevant.”