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For many years, the future world of work has been an important topic with globalisation, the surge in digital innovations and automation driving fundamental changes in the work environment. COVID-19 has accelerated that trend, both in speed and scale, transforming workplace models, customer expectations and technological adoption.

In just a few months, organisations across many sectors have experienced years of change in the ways they operate and communicate. Implications on jobs and workforce skills have been profound, leading to new demand for high level skills and knowledge, and major shifts in skill requirements.

In responding to this skills challenge, Ulster University Business School (UUBS) has developed a new part-time MSc Business in Technology programme, co-created with The School of Computing and local industry in Northern Ireland to ensure the development of relevant knowledge and skills in the professional and technology services sectors.

The programme has been developed in collaboration with industry experts from companies such as PwC, as a direct response to the industry’s growing need for people with a combination of a technology background, business acumen and the leadership capability required to lead business growth in the digital age. The collaboration featured in the latest National Centre for Universities and Businesses (NCUB) Showcasing Collaboration: Building Future Talent, Together report.

Another programme designed to meet the demand for highly skilled graduates in the financial services sector is the part-time MSc in Global Capital Markets, which is open for applications in January 2021. As Northern Ireland’s financial services ecosystem continues to expand, this unique course provides an ideal pathway for those who wish to develop a career in financial services, accounting, consultancy, business and management, and can also be taken as part of the Higher Level Apprenticeship scheme.

Through active and responsive engagement, the Business School continues to actively work alongside organisations and government to create new opportunities that support emerging skill requirements and help organisations and individuals adapt to a shifting workplace and economy.

In October, the University welcomed further support from the Department for the Economy to fund those impacted by COVID-19 on a range of online industry relevant courses to upskill and retrain in priority areas. Courses offered by UUBS include two PG Certificates in Professional Development – ‘Understanding International Business’ and ‘Enabling Business Recovery’ aimed at those who wish to update their business knowledge.

In addition, a partnership between the University, Digital DNA and Belfast Metropolitan College has led to the creation of an Advanced Certificate in Management Practice (Transformational Management in a Digital World).

All of these courses commenced online in January 2021 and offer pathways to careers in sectors which require highly skilled, well-paid employees to fill gaps in the job market.

Professor Gillian Armstrong, Director of Business Engagement, Ulster University Business School, explains:

“As the skills challenge becomes more acute, UUBS is deeply committed to supporting the business sector and regional economy. A collaborative approach with professional bodies and businesses ensures our range of programmes are highly relevant and align with the changing needs of business. Many of these postgraduate programmes offer an ideal route for individuals wishing to change career, upskill or enhance their employability.

“As we chart our way through a new economic era, it is unclear what the future holds. We do however know that the future of work is accelerating and skill sets are changing at every level. Having the right skills, capabilities and embracing learning in the longer term will be a critical building block in creating an agile and future-ready workforce.”

For more information on UUBS’s portfolio of management development and executive education programmes, please email