Education Experts Call for Renewed Focus on Leadership and Skills Training to Prepare Youth for Empl

Education Experts Call for Renewed Focus on Leadership and Skills Training to Prepare Youth for Employment in an Increasingly Competitive Workforce

FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards Education Forum in London fosters discussion about need for public and private sector leaders to address pressing global education challenges

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Rapidpopulation growth in cities across the world is putting a strain on urban education infrastructure. While technological advancements and increased interconnectivity are breaking down geographic and economic barriers to education, these improvements are being outpaced by current urbanisation rates. As a result, current education systems must innovate to meet the learning needs and provide the necessary skills for citizens to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.

Today, the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards Education Forum brought together leading business, education and policy experts to foster discussion around the market forces that will drive investment and innovation in this sector. Speakers and attendees shared effective models, strategies and policy recommendations to scale education innovation to better serve urban residents.

"Providing people with effective, relevant and accessible education and training is the backbone of any economy," said Pamela Flaherty, President and CEO, the Citi Foundation and Director, Corporate Citizenship. "As our urban centers continue to grow, so does competition for jobs. Today's youth needs the support, knowledge and skills, such as financial capability, to create their own role in the economy."

"Leaders of education systems need to not only apply the best knowledge we have about improving schools but also encourage innovation drawing on examples that combine great teachers and great technology in news ways," said Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor, Pearson. "In the future, learners need more than knowledge. They need to learn how to think, how to lead and how to take responsibility for their own careers in a demanding global context."

The forum's key speakers included:

  • Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor, Pearson

  • Freddy Boom, Head of EMEA Public Sector Group, Citi

  • Mark Cheng, UK Director, Ashoka

  • Kevan Collins, CEO, Education Endowment Foundation

  • Christopher Cook, Education Correspondent, Financial Times

  • John Dunford, Chair, Whole Education

  • Pamela P. Flaherty, President and Chief Executive Officer, Citi Foundation

  • Ty Goddard, Co-founder, The Education Foundation

  • Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, INSEAD eLab

  • Michael Mercieca, CEO, Young Enterprise

  • Abigail Moss, Deputy Director, National Literacy Trust

  • Soraya Salti, Sr. Vice President - Mena, INJAZ

  • Brett Wigdortz, CEO, Teachfirst

"Unemployment in many countries around the world is at an all-time high, particularly in the Middle East region as highlighted during the 'Arab Spring.' For governments the issue is no longer just about providing quality traditional education - there is a need to equip youth with the skills they need to enter the global workforce," added Soraya Salti, Senior Vice President of Middle East and North Africa, Junior Achievement Worldwide. "By working together, governments and the private sector have the capacity to build youth's skills so that owning their own business becomes a viable career option. Entrepreneurship also has an economic advantage; the more successful new businesses that are started, the greater the benefit to the local community and further job opportunities for the unemployed."

"Education is the foundation for progress and the fuel of ingenuity," said Freddy Boom, Public Sector Head for EMEA, Citi. "It enables people to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. For cities, it is a crucial differentiator in attracting high caliber talent who can drive prosperity and growth, talent we strive to recognize through the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards."

The forum is the last in a series of events leading up to the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards in December. It was devised to provide a platform for business and education leaders to discuss the latest trends and drivers, and exchange ideas to further uncover innovative approaches to tackling urban challenges in the field of education.

Citi offers a range of solutions from around the world to address the challenges facing the education sector in an inventive but realistic way. From cashless campus communities that are convenient for students to more efficient systems for student fee billing that lower costs for governments, city leaders can access the tools they need for education in their cities to succeed.

About the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards

More than half the world's population lives in cities today, a number which is expected to rise in the decades ahead. As a result, cities have a pressing need to address the challenges of urbanisation and find solutions that modernise infrastructure, improve efficiency, enhance quality of life and foster sustainable growth and development.

The FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards: Urban Ideas in Action, a global programme sponsored by Citi was developed to recognise individuals who have developed groundbreaking solutions to urban challenges that benefit cities, citizens and urban communities in the fields of education, energy, healthcare and infrastructure.

Criteria and metrics for the Awards have been developed by INSEAD, one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools. All entries will be reviewed by the FT and INSEAD for qualification. The judging panel will select finalists and winners. As sponsor, Citi will not review or judge submissions.

Submissions will be reviewed based on a range of criteria, including originality, impact, efficiency and outcomes.

Category finalists will be profiled in a series of Financial Times special reports. A global winner and category winners will be announced at an awards dinner in New York City in December 2012.

For more details on the FT/Citi Ingenuity Awards, please visit

About Citi:

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at

Additional information may be found at Twitter: @Citi YouTube: Blog: Facebook: LinkedIn:

About Citi for Cities

Citi for Cities is an initiative that harnesses the best of Citi across the globe to enable cities to become more efficient, by providing financing that facilitates commerce and modernization, and by empowering citizens to access services that enhance liveability and prosperity. Citi aims to help cities achieve their ambitions across the key ecosystems that power a city including administration, roads and transit, ports of entry, energy and utilities, workplace and education, health and safety and regeneration and development. Citi's span of engagement with cities includes public and private sectors, the financial sector and citizens and the communities in which they live. For more information, please visit

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Eleanor Wilcox, +44 203 047 2069

KEYWORDS: United Kingdom United States Europe North America New York Africa Middle East


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