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Microsoft and HEC collaborated to empower future Tech Leaders.

Microsoft Pakistan brought together leading figures from academia and industry for a dynamic event “Bridging the Academia-Industry Gap” on Thursday, May 30th, 2024. Held at the Auditorium, HEC Headquarters – Islamabad, the event focused on fostering collaboration and equipping graduates with the skills needed to thrive in the modern workplace.

The event commenced with a welcome address by Dr Zia Ul-Qayyum, Executive Director of the Higher Education Commission, followed by a Keynote by Microsoft’s Director of Education Industry, Central Europe Middle East & Africa, Jaye Richards Hill. Jaye Richards Hill highlighted the importance of this collaboration: “At Microsoft, we believe that technology can be a powerful bridge between academia and industry. By equipping students with the latest tools and technologies and fostering collaboration with industry leaders, we can prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Mr. Jibran Jamshad addressed the audience regarding Microsoft’s latest AI offerings. Mr. Jibran Jamshad highlighted a recent survey from the World Talent Initiative, which paints a picture of a rapidly changing workplace driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The survey revealed a significant increase in AI adoption, with 75% of knowledge workers using AI tools daily. Interestingly, nearly half (46%) reported adopting these tools within the last six months, highlighting a rapid acceleration in AI integration. Despite initial fears of job losses due to AI, the survey also identified a talent shortage in cybersecurity, engineering, and design. Companies are now prioritizing AI skills when hiring, and employees are actively upskilling themselves through platforms like LinkedIn Learning to stay competitive. LinkedIn has introduced a new AI skilling framework for organizations, offering over 50 free learning courses to help professionals at all levels enhance their AI expertise. This suggests that AI is creating new opportunities for those willing to adapt.

Imagination and innovation took centre stage with a showcase by Team Sign Saathi, a group of GIKI students whose project reached the Imagine Cup global semi-finals. Top Imagine Cup projects were showcased to dignitaries.

The event also featured remarks by Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman of the Higher Education Commission, and the Honorable Chief Guest, Mr. Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Chairman Prime Minister youth programme. Mr. Rana Mashhood emphasized the crucial role of technology in empowering Pakistan’s youth, stating, “Equipping our graduates with the latest technological skills is paramount to ensuring their success in the competitive global landscape. Events like this pave the way for a more collaborative and future-proof education system. A big kudos to Microsoft for organizing these events”

Marking a significant milestone, the event witnessed the launch of Microsoft Copilot, Microsoft Learn for Educators, and Microsoft for Startups—Founders Hub in the presence of respected Vice Chancellors of higher education institutions (HEIs). This initiative signifies Microsoft’s commitment to supporting academic institutions in Pakistan and empowering the next generation of tech leaders.

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