At TIGERS we are very pleased that your membership program is rapidly expanding into Europe. For that reason, we were pleased to learn of the UK’s focus in preparing their youth for the competitve global marketplace.

Rapid population 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.

For those of you who are educators at heart, this is very good news.

“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.”

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. 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.”

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, health care and infrastructure.