x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

More Emiratis sign up for vocational courses

Abu Dhabi Vocational Institute forms part of the capital's strategy to tackle the problem of Emiratis lacking skills to enter some private sector jobs.

An open day for Emiratis to check out the diplomas offered by the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute.
An open day for Emiratis to check out the diplomas offered by the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute.

ABU DHABI // An increasingly competitive market climate and higher living costs are pushing more Emiratis to enrol in vocational training. Adveti, a government-backed vocational institute, is developing plans to increase the number of teachers and classes offered at its Abu Dhabi campus for the next academic year, to cope with the growing demand.

Nizar Luqman, its executive director, said vocational training empowered Emiratis and gave them practical skills. "We are gearing towards a more hands-on approach, and so we are focusing a lot on practical courses. We find that students are more interested in such learning," he said. Adveti (Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute) provides a wide range of diploma programmes, in areas such as information technology, travel and tourism management, paralegal studies and environmental studies.

While access to higher education for Emiratis is free at government institutions such as Zayed University and the Higher Colleges of Technology, Mr Luqman said the schools were not competing with each other. "Not everyone is going to go to university or college. Our role is to complement Zayed University and Higher Colleges in Emiratisation and developing the right set of skills for Emiratis to join the workforce."

Almost 1,000 Emirati students attend Adveti, which was established in 2007 by the Abu Dhabi Education Council. There are almost 400 male students at the institute. Women make up 58 per cent of the roll. The institute is run by New South Wales Technical and Further Education, part of New South Wales Department of Education and Training in Australia, the country's largest training provider. The institute caters exclusively for Emiratis. Tuition is sponsored by the Government.

After more than 13 years since he chose to forego a degree in higher education, one student, Yaser al Hamiri, 37, decided to give it another try. In February of last year, he enrolled to gain a Diploma in Tourism Management. Despite working with Abu Dhabi Municipality for more than two years, Mr al Hamiri envisaged bigger things for himself, but realised he needed to prove his qualifications on paper first.

"To find a good job with a good package, a high school degree is not enough any more," he said. "Life is very expensive now and the market is competitive." A large number of students are from rural areas of the emirate, and a majority of those enrolled attended public high schools. Such is the case with Sheikha al Kitbi, 22, who lives in Al Falah area. Despite her one-hour journey to school, she is determined to make the most of her experience.

She attends morning and evening sessions at the institute, the first from 9am to 2pm, the second from 4.30pm to 8pm, and by June of next year she hopes to receive a dual diploma in travel and tourism, and information technology. "I have a chance to do both, so I said, 'why not?'" Ms al Kitbi said. talramahi@thenational.ae