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A Round Table Discussion on Future Jobs and Skills took place at VUM

A round table on “Skills needed for the manager and specialist today. The professions of the future.” took place at Varna University of Management today. The event was held within the framework of this year’s edition of the VUM Career and Internship Fair and was organized by Assoc. prof. Silvena Yordanova, coordinator of the Regional Academic center of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences a leading educational institution in Bulgaria having 150 years of history.

During its opening, Assoc. Prof. Yordanova presented the idea of the event as a bridge between business and education. Among the industry representatives participating in the discussion were IPRACTICE COSTA BRAVA (Spain), Iberostar Group (Spain), Barceló Hotel Group (Spain), GR8 Recruitment (Jersey Islands, UK), Kempinski hotels (Bulgaria), GRIFID Hotel Chain (Bulgaria), Historical Park – a theme attraction (Bulgaria), TaxBack Group (Bulgaria) and more. A special guest of the event was the President of Varna Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Ivan Tabakov.

Further in the discussion Assoc. Prof. Maya Ivanova (Programme Director of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Varna University of Management) presented the on-going EU project Next Tourism Generation and its goals. Prof. Ivanova commented on the need to prepare future employees in the tourism and hospitality to build digital, green and social skills, in order to address the rapidly changing industry and world. She provided results from the research, conducted within the 8 countries participating in the project and emphasized on the top skills that employers anticipate as most needed in the future – i.e. artificial intelligence and robotics skills, skills, related to applying digital hardware and other diverse computer programming skills. Industry professionals showed much interest in the NTG Alliance goals and expected outputs. They discussed the importance of social and digital skills in the industry, as well as the relevant process of training and education.

Following the main aim of the forum, namely to discuss the link between science and business and the combination of skills future applicants would need, the participants defined that a manager nowadays should be a mentor, supporting his team members. They agreed that, besides task-oriented, an unquestionable manager skill should be effective communication. The business representatives came to the conclusion that the most important skills are social skills, human skills, flexibility and intercultural awareness.

All participants shared their experience about the application of different technologies in their companies and the reaction of their employees when they have to work with the new technologies. Then the discussion shifted to the methodologies of education and training of future skills. Maya Ivanova presented the expected NTG output regarding the first European BluePrint for tourism skills. Further, industry representatives discussed issues, related to labour shortage, legislation, and finally, the importance of providing experiences not only for tourists but also for the employees.

VUM students and alumni also took part in the meeting. First year student of International Hospitality Management – Polina Nikolova shared the practical time she got to experience during her management-focused classes. Yordan Kolev, student in the same educational programme, explained that he returned to Bulgaria after 15 years in Italy to study in one of the leading business schools. And Borislava Yordanova – alumni of the Software Engineering Programme at VUM shared her experience on gaining the necessary skills to start a successful career in an international company based in Varna.

The next round table is planned to be during the XVI International Scientific conference “The Science and Digitalisation in Favour of Business and Education” which will be held in Albena resort on 3-5 July 2020.

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