The local job market has changed considerably in the past few decades and many jobs available today were once overlooked, Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) acting vice chancellor said this morning at the university’s Freshers’ Week.

“There are jobs existing in today’s market that were not in demand two decades ago… The job market nowadays puts much emphasis on the need to have excellent communication skills, leadership skills, networking, creativity, resilience, teamwork and carry others along with you, as well as entrepreneurial experience,” Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean said.

This, she noted, is the reason UBD’s GenNEXT focuses on developing students’ leadership skills as well as aiming to hone their innovation, entrepreneurship and environmental awareness.

Media reports in March last year put the number of unemployed graduates with a degree and above at 2,328. JobCentre Brunei — the country’s one-stop career centre — has registered a total of 12,965 unemployed locals since its operation on January 11, 2017.

“At UBD, we not only aim to guide and mentor you to attain academic excellence, but also help you in equipping yourself with necessary skills and a solid foundation to prepare you for challenges ahead,” Dr Teo told students.

UBD’s acting Vice Chancellor, Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean (R) addressing UBD’s 500 new students this morning at the university’s Freshers’ Week for its 2nd intake for the 2017/2018 academic year. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

She urged the students to study and work smart towards making themselves a valuable asset to the country, to thrive and contribute in a fast changing world.

UBD on its website said the GenNEXT’s curriculum is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and competency in specific disciplinary areas as well as broad-based knowledge outside their major discipline, providing students with flexibility in choice of careers.

Dr Teo said another important element of GenNEXT, which was introduced in 2009, is experiential learning through the third year Discovery Year programme that provides students will hands-on experience to prepare and sharpen their soft skills.

The Freshers’ Week, a four-day orientation programme, aims to familiarise the students with academic and non-academic matters in UBD.