Health & Education

Paths To Success

Vocational Education

A key demographic figure for the Emirates is the ratio of UAE nationals to expatriates in the local workforce. Emiratis are the minority in the UAE, a reality that also […]

A key demographic figure for the Emirates is the ratio of UAE nationals to expatriates in the local workforce. Emiratis are the minority in the UAE, a reality that also exists in many other GCC countries. However, Abu Dhabi’s efforts to address this trend are commendable, indicative of the foresight leaders in the Abu Dhabi Executive Council have had in ensuring that locals can sustain the rapid economic growth occurring in the capital city, the neighboring Emirates, and the nation at large. The angle from which Abu Dhabi is addressing this issue is through career-based technical education, a model aimed at equipping Emiratis with the skills and qualifications necessary to fulfill the workforce needs of major employers in the local market. It is an effort adamantly supported by both public and private sector stakeholders spearheaded by the Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training ACTVET.

Created by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council in 2010, ACTVET is the umbrella organization initiated by the Crown Prince HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to oversee technical and vocational training in the Emirate and boost the level of Emiratiziation in the country. ACTVET’s operating duo, the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) and the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI), are in charge of executing ACTVET’s strategy and producing graduate outcomes that meet the Emirate’s sector-based employment targets. Both entities work directly with industry stakeholders in developing their programs to achieve this, bridging the gap between education and career.

Attracting Emiratis into technical fields begins at high school. “High school is the key to building a good breed of graduates who can pursue education at a later stage,“ says Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamisi, Managing Director of the IAT, the first of the two ACTVET entities founded in 2005. The institute has high school campuses spanning the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Fujairah where the aim is to inspire young nationals toward careers in math and science-based fields. Dr. Al Shamisi explains the ethos behind IAT’s high schools by saying that, “Emiratis cannot just be in executive roles. They have to sweat it from the beginning. Finance is not a real motive. Being loyal to your country, giving back to your country is the real motive.“ Through integrated curriculum, the high schools feed into IAT’s two higher education entities: the technology arm, Abu Dhabi Polytechnic, and the health sciences arm, Fatima College of Health Sciences. Both entities partner with relative industry leaders such as Siemens, ENEC, SEHA, and HAAD, including universities abroad to develop curriculum that is on the cutting-edge of technology, innovation, and industry trends. Graduate outcomes have been highly successful in matching students to careers as a result. “Our graduates hit the ground running once they finish school,“ confirms Dr. Shamisi.