The Daily Star is hosting the Youth Skills Summit 2020 today, marking World Youth Skills Day, to explore ways to harness Bangladesh's young demographic. More than 60 speakers, comprising industry leaders, entrepreneurs and young aspirants representing different fields are participating in the daylong virtual event. The summit features 14 panel discussions, where experts are talking about different industries, starting from technology and business to arts and culture. They are guiding the young attendees about the job market in this difficult time, and the different skillsets needed to remain employable in the post-pandemic world. The event, emceed by Zunaed Rabbani, CEO, The Right Kind and AIRN, is in association with SBK Tech Ventures, Shah Cement and Mountain Dew. Star Youth, 10 Minute School, Preneur Lab and Youth Opportunities are the youth engagement partners of the summit.
'Organisations in Pandemic Times: Adopt and Adapt a Winning Culture', the fifth session of Youth Skills Summit 2020, featured three leaders from different industries. It was moderated by Tanjim Ferdous, National Consultant at United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). Ferdous spoke about organisational culture, professional growth and career building with the panel of experts. The panelists were: Sonia Bashir Kabir, Founder, SBK Tech Ventures, Shehzad Munim, Managing Director, British American Tobacco Bangladesh, and Zaved Akhtar, Vice President- Digital Transformation and Growth, Unilever South Asia. The key point of the discussion was that the only constant in the global employment structure is 'change' and to challenge it, the youth needs to be equipped with contemporary skills.
Sonia Bashir Kabir, during the session, focused on the academic perspective of tech-readiness, digital literacy and data driven decision-making in the national and global markets, while emphasising on the difference between creating and using technology. "The MNCs, FMCGs and financial sectors are already on board with their digital journey and tech-readiness," she said. "They are in different transition phases in the data driven decision making process. We need to focus on underlining digital inclusion and enhancing the digital literacy skills for the missing middle, the organisations who are too big for micro-financing and too small for banks. The Covid-19 pandemic has also led us to embrace technology."
The significance of precision marketing, innovation targeting, automation, and the road to more contemporary business strategies were discussed by Zaved Akhtar. He also spoke about how the youth are utilising technology in the best ways. According to him, anything that contributes to efficiency can be termed as technology. "Technology is not always the most expensive facet. You don't have to break your bank to transform your company. You need to put purpose before profit," he said.
Shehzad Munim added some interesting perspectives to the conversation, on how organisations must remain agile to maintain the winning culture, balance the strategies and not allow exterior factors to derail them. He emphasised on how big and small organisations are combatting to survive amid the global crisis. "Freezing is not an option now. Organisations need to opt for collaborations or take the hard decision of retreating via cost-cutting," he said. "The wholesale network is falling apart and we had to re-craft our strategies, look for newer opportunities, for adapting to the pandemic, with time."