Preparing Youth for the Digital World

“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” Some decades ago, Nelson Mandela, said these powerful words, in which he observed the role of education in empowering youth. I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about what is called the ‘society of tomorrow’, and whether youth will have fair chances to make the most of their capabilities in such society?



by Emad Ghaly

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Clearly, digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 are bringing changes at a speed, scale and force unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Manufacturers need to invent new products and services cheaply and quickly using new technologies. As in previous industrial revolutions – but on a much larger scale – the fourth industrial revolution will change millions of jobs due to digitalization.


Emerging countries are also not immune. If automation takes over more of manufacturing jobs in developed countries, there will be less demand for such work in emerging markets. This is especially disturbing in the era of high unemployment, especially for youth. And because manufacturing accounts for 70% of the global economy, this really is about “global economy and competitiveness”.

So, how do we prepare youth for this transformation?

Because the Fourth Industrial Revolution runs on knowledge, we need a continuous revolution in training and education. The good news is while new technology may eliminate million of jobs, it will also create more jobs than it wipes out! I so strongly believe that digitalization and Industry 4.0 can be used as tools to empower youth in order to create the “society of tomorrow”. 


Addressing this issue is core to Siemens’ mission as we believe that every individual is entitled to access good education. This is why, one my favorite parts of my job is meeting with students, educational institutions, teachers and education experts to implement our “Business to Society” approach in the country, enabling the next future makers! 


Today, I’d like to share our “Business to Society” approach and the most recent initiatives we have launched to create more opportunities to youth: 


#1: Supporting occupational training in Egypt 


We have signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support occupational training in Egypt, with total investment of more than 22 million euro.  


The agreement will see the establishment and operation of a joint technical training center –located in New Suez Canal Development Zone, in Ain Sokhna area Ain Sokhna area. The center will provide training for more than 5,500 Egyptian youth over the next four years in advanced technical skills that are critical to the Egyptian economy. These include industrial mechanics; electrics and electronics and automation. We will also support the modernization of a higher technical institute in Cairo. 



#2: Largest digital industrial software grant


Last February, we have announced our largest ever software grant in Egypt. The USD$120 million industrial digitalization software grant will be used to support training, education and higher degrees of research in Cairo, Ain Shams and Alexandria, the largest among the Egyptian universities. Using Siemens’ PLM software, engineering students will be trained on the same technology that companies worldwide depend on to design some of today’s most sophisticated products. Today, Siemens’ PLM software are used to train almost 40,000 engineering students across the Middle East region, preparing these students for ‘factories of tomorrow’.


#3: Fostering dual-education model in Egypt


Currently, German youth unemployment numbers are lower than in any other European country. This is not only because of Germany’s economic development, but also because of the focus on vocational education system. Studies show that there is a strong correlation between the proportion of vocational education in a country and building a sustainable, diversified economy. This is why we have teamed up with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) to develop Zein Al Abedin Technical School in Cairo, based on the German dual education model.  

The initiative involves equipping the school with a set of technological and learning solutions; developing the curriculum; providing teacher training as well as driving transformation for an enhanced learning experience that prepares students for the future. 


#4: Further enhancing industrial training


Further addressing the increasing skill gap, we are partnering with different academic institutions and industrial training providers to make sure that students/career starters have the necessary capabilities in order to keep pace with the future. 





This article has been initially published on LinkedIn by Emad Ghaly, CEO Siemens Technologies S.A.E..