x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Young recruits taught practical skills

An Abu Dhabi vocational training centre for Emiratis is hoping to double its complement of students when it reopens.

ABU DHABI // An Abu Dhabi vocational training centre for Emiratis is hoping to double its complement of students when it reopens for the new academic year. Up to 600 extra students are set to join the Abu Dhabi Vocational Training Centre (Adveti) in September, a year after it was set up by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec). Adveti is managed by Technical and Further Education, which is part of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training in Australia. There are 39 teachers - all of them Australian - at Adveti, while nearly one-third of the non-teaching staff are Emirati.

There are currently about 550 students at the centre, which has a maximum capacity of about 2,000. While many students are aged 18, there are also mature-age students. David Thomas, Adveti's director of corporate services, said the centre was launching new courses in environmental subjects, property management and construction management. "It's been identified through our industry contacts that there are some significant employment opportunities for Emiratis in these areas," he said.

Mr Thomas said Adveti was still receiving applications from prospective students, and the number of new recruits could range from 400 to 600. The aim of the institute is to ensure there are Emiratis trained in practical subjects to meet the needs of the economy. It offers two-and-a-half-year diploma courses in subjects such as hotel management, finance, IT, paralegal studies, library services, project management and interior design.

Adveti also focuses on employability by improving students' time management, communication and teamwork, with the aim to make them "job ready" when they complete their courses. Courses are taught in English and applicants have to achieve a minimum score in English-language tests. They are expected to speak English even when chatting among themselves. Mr Thomas said bringing new staff from overseas had become more difficult because of Abu Dhabi's acute housing shortage.

So far, offers have been made to 22 of the planned estimate of 31 extra staff for the new academic year. "Accommodation issues complicate the recruitment process. It's very difficult to find something that's reasonably priced and appropriate for our staff," Mr Thomas said. "As accommodation becomes available, I'm making offers. It's compressing the time frame to get people out here, but the Abu Dhabi Government is committed to finding accommodation for these people."

Adec will open new vocational training institutes in Al Ain and Madinat Zayed later this year. They will be run by GTZ, a German company. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae