Digital skills for the era of IR 4.0 in facing the VUCA world


A critical need has arisen to future-proof citizens’ skills for a world where automation, AI and robotics concurrently take hold in the era of IR 4.0.

OWING to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) of unpredictable global events, there is now more than ever a critical need to future-proof citizens’ skills for the world of complexity, whereby automation, AI and robotics concurrently take hold in the era of IR 4.0.

Quoting the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) national Industry4WRD policy, “Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) is blurring the distinction among physical, digital and biological spaces.”

Digital skills in demand

The current dynamic and disruptive environment require those involved to be equipped with the know-how, knowledge and skills to implement and manage the relevant, as it embodies advanced knowledge on integration of data, artificial intelligence, machines and communication.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future Of Jobs report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. Therefore, it is anticipated that reskilling and upskilling budgets of enterprises and organisations are likely to increase to meet the skills gap.

In addition, future graduates will need to be equipped with a qualification that incorporates future-proof, employable skills that will serve them competently within their organisations and also contribute to society and the nation as the need arises.

The new ManpowerGroup survey shows that IT and Data is the most sought-after profession globally.

Adding to this, the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint 2021 highlighted that the digital economy will become the foundation of the modern economy, thus requiring skilled manpower to fulfil this national mandate.

Path to acquiring digital skills

APU developed its own IR4.0 strategy to nurture the world’s future innovators and uphold its vision as a university of technology and innovation.APU developed its own IR4.0 strategy to nurture the world’s future innovators and uphold its vision as a university of technology and innovation.

Taking a lead in digital transformation for higher education, all academic programmes offered by Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) are technology-driven in all fields, tapping into the Internet of Things (IoT), Data Science, Cybersecurity, Cloud Engineering, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mechatronics, E-business, Digital Marketing, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Digital Leadership, Finance Technology (FinTech) and Mobile Technology.

For working professionals and organisations, customised reskilling and upskilling programmes are offered.

This strategy is very much in response to the greater demand for technology and innovation, driven by new challenges under the new normal in Covid-19 times. It encompasses innovative teaching and learning using state-of-the-art infrastructure, revolutionary programmes for the future, industry-academic partnership and professional development with a global outlook.

To provide students hands-on experiences, APU is equipped with world-class infrastructure from the US, France, Singapore, Germany and the UK. APU’s industry on-campus exposes students, staff and training participants to a simulated working environment, real-time data and scenarios, and real-time challenges.

Some of APU’s significant industry partners include TechForte, Ministry XR, IBM, SAS, TIBCO, and Microsoft.

One such industry-on-campus facility is the CyberSecurity Talent Zone (CSTZ) – the first integrated cyber security talent zone in Malaysia.

CSTZ houses a military-grade real-time cyber security monitoring software at the full-fledged Cyber Threats Simulation and Response Centre (Cyber Range) and Security Operation Centre (SOC), where students can embrace and experience an industry or professional working setting to hone their skills to identify, recognise and mitigate cyber security risks.

APU is equipped with world-class infrastructure, such as the CSTZ – the first integrated cyber security talent zone in Malaysia. APU is equipped with world-class infrastructure, such as the CSTZ – the first integrated cyber security talent zone in Malaysia.

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the industry, APU established the first unique XR Studio in Asia and among Malaysian universities in collaboration with Ministry XR.

The state-of-the-art studio comprises technologies, hardware and software capable of developing AR, VR and MR (Mixed Reality) applications. Students get hands-on experience developing industry-related projects.

Global outlook graduates for success

APU employs a unique blend of authentic learning and an innovative industry-driven curriculum to prime graduates for success in embarking on a career that demands continuous personal development.APU employs a unique blend of authentic learning and an innovative industry-driven curriculum to prime graduates for success in embarking on a career that demands continuous personal development.

The futuristic technology infrastructure, industry-on-campus and industry-experienced lecturers and professionals have formed a successful ecosystem that has helped develop future-proof, employable professionals.

“In the age of IR 4.0 when technology continuously transforms our society, graduates will be embarking on a career that demands continuous personal development.

“APU employs a unique blend of authentic learning and an innovative industry-driven curriculum to prime our graduates for success.

“Our student-centric approach to learning ensures APU graduates are creative, lifelong learners who will contribute to humanity,” said APU vice-chancellor Prof Dr Ho Chin Kuan.

According to the latest Annual Graduate Tracer Study by the Higher Education Ministry, 100% of APU graduates were employed upon graduation.

APU is on the right path in nurturing highly sought-after graduates with readily employable digital skills and providing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling for working professionals.

APU students will also have the option to opt-in for the APU-DMU dual degree scheme, where they will receive two sets of degree certificates and transcripts upon graduation - one from APU (Malaysia) and another from De Montfort University (UK).

With over 150 years of history in providing higher education to students from around the globe, the APU-DMU collaboration is providing students a global outlook and forming global citizens of IR 4.0 and beyond.

To find out more, visit www.apu.edu.my

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