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Heriot-Watt unveils new online platform

Heriot-Watt University has used the stage of the Future Skills Conference at the Expo 2020 Dubai to unveil its newest venture, Heriot-Watt Online.

The platform offers tailored courses addressing “key issues and skill gaps identified by business and industry bodies”

The conference took place at the Expo’s UK Pavilion on December 8 and focused on the university’s “world-leading research”.

It aimed to address key themes encompassing purposeful education, as well as the role of education in transforming economies and addressing global challenges – framing jobs of tomorrow “in response to the changing workplace”.

It also focused on the roles of sustainability, mobility and opportunity in forming solutions in education – the three pillars are also the names of the three districts at the Expo.

With a history of online education, Heriot-Watt released Heriot-Watt Online to set itself apart from “other mass learning approaches”.

The platform offers tailored courses addressing “key issues and skill gaps identified by business and industry bodies”.

Masters, undergraduate degrees and apprenticeships will all be offered, with masters courses in Digital Transformation, Data Analytics and Supply Chain Management and Logistics already having been announced.

The initiative will work directly with business to help deliver and create courses “tailored to current and future talent needs”.

“Our mission is to power the economy and transform lives by providing world-class relevant and flexible learning,” said Gillian Murray, deputy principal of Business and Enterprise at Heriot-Watt.

“The demographic of learners is changing and is unlikely to go back to the pre-pandemic landscape – workplace skills are also changing rapidly, so both employers and employees must keep pace.”

Lucy Everest, the university’s global COO, said Heriot-Watt Online is preparing to “eventually introduce 20 programs”.

“Heriot-Watt Online is essentially scaling up our distance learning provision,” Everest told The PIE News.

The ultimate aim of the initiative is designed to “open up higher education” to as many “non-traditional” students as possible across the globe.

At the Future Skills Conference, the university hosted the chairman of the board of directors and director general at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority Abdulla Al Karam.

“Heriot-Watt Online is essentially scaling up our distance learning provision”

“We’re thankful to our friends at Heriot-Watt for bringing the community together to ensure the future prosperity of students and of Dubai,” Al Karam said at the conference.

Heriot-Watt, which has had a presence in Dubai for 15 years, opened a new campus in the city in April.

“Through this conference, our efforts to bring together speakers from academia, industry, and government along with students has resulted in a unique setting that provided a platform to discuss the current and forthcoming educational needs of individuals,” said the Heriot-Watt Dubai’s provost and vice-principal, Ammar Kaka.

“At the same time, it is also addressing what jobs of the future will look like,” he added.

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