Massive skills gap facing industries including aerospace and space needs urgent attention from governments and corporations 

Increasingly, there is an urgent need for developing talent in areas of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) amid a global skills gap, which will hinder the evolution and growth of industries and sectors including aerospace, space and defence unless governments and corporates work together to address the issue. 

Young people’s inability to identify and acquire the skills needed for today’s job market have contributed to a 12% drop in youth employment over the past two decades,[1] according to a report by Generation Unlimited, PwC and UNICEF. With the employment market requiring more complex and diverse skills than ever before, governments and businesses need to come together to give youth the skills and opportunities they need to access meaningful employment.

Aerospace and space companies plan to hire a lot more people in the coming decade, creating several STEM career opportunities. However, a massive skills gap faces companies that need to fill these jobs. 

In an aerospace outlook on talent survey results report, Ernst & Young[2] said corporate respondents indicated that the skills they anticipate to value most from university hires in the next four to five years are engineering skills (81% of respondents), data science and analytics skills (41%), and digital skill sets (28%). To obtain these skill sets, workforce planning is critical to the future of the industry.

To prepare the space and aerospace industry for future growth and development, the Global Aerospace Summit will see the return of the NextGen Leaders programme, with a renewed focus on building workforce capacity and skills. The high-level forum, hosted by Mubadala, is set to take place at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi from 24 -26 May 2022. 

Focused on students, graduates and young professionals, the NextGen Leaders programme is spread out across the three days of the Summit and includes panel discussions, networking opportunities, mentorship activities, workshops, and university showcasing. The programme is designed to enable stakeholders to help develop talent in the aerospace sector and acts as a platform to highlight the best young people to potential employers for building or further developing their careers.

One of the NextGen sessions, titled ‘The new face of manufacturing’, will focus on the aerospace industry’s capabilities of attracting talent effectively. A panel will discuss whether promotional boosts of relevant product development and manufacturing helps and if virtual prototyping, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing and robotics, are the new face of manufacturing processes to support talent attraction. The panellists include Hala Al-Zargani, Manager, Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation and Security Solutions, Noura Al Braiki, Production Manager, Strata Manufacturing and Fatema Ali Al Hajri – EVP – Products & Solutions Engineering, Technical, Yahsat.

“Future generations need the right skillset to continue competing in today’s high-tech global economy,” said Hala Al-Zargani, Manager, Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation and Security Solutions. 

“To date, over 100 talented Emirati students have attended Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation and Security Solutions in Abu Dhabi and received specialist STEM training on real-world aerospace and defense projects. With the support of our partners, we aim to further grow our strong pipeline of capable young engineers and scientists, preparing them for critical and important work in the country’s defense and national security industries.”

Timothy Hawes, Managing Director of Tarsus, Middle East commented: “The NextGen Leaders programme returns this year with a renewed focus on preparing the workforce of tomorrow in areas of space and aerospace. We’re delighted that several industry professionals will lend their expertise to steer discussions towards solutions and also participate in activities like mentorships and workshops for the benefit of students, graduates and young professionals within these industries. Through this programme, we hope to bridge the skills gap and ensure the efficiency and sustainability of the sectors for the future.”

Additionally, NextGen Leaders, in partnership with the Space Generation Advisory Council and supported by Safran, will provide a mentorship platform for students and young professionals to receive practical guidance from industry leaders on how to kick start or advance their careers.

There will also be a leaders’ panel and networking opportunity in collaboration with AmCham, where the C-level executives’ panel will discuss the benefits of working in the aerospace industry. The discussion will follow a Q&A session and an informal networking opportunity.

The Summit has an exceptional three-day agenda of panel discussions and speeches on the wider aerospace, defence, aviation and space industry. In addition, the 2022 event will also include new elements such as a dedicated start-up mentorship clinic lead by Aerospace Xelerated, and technology leadership briefings, focused on implementation of technology in the aerospace sector.

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