Seven ways to upskill and improve your CV in the new year with UAE courses

From learning to teach English or yoga to mastering photography and improv, there are plenty of classes to boost your potential

Improv exercises and acting classes can make you a more confident public speaker in professional set-ups. Getty Images
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A new year ushers in one of the best times to spruce up a CV, improve skills or try something completely different.

Whether it’s after-hours improv to finesse public speaking, qualifying as a teacher to earn money travelling or simply learning for learning’s sake, upskilling can provide a timely boost to one’s potential – and pay packet.

From easy online classes at night to in-person crash courses, here are some of the best available in the UAE.

Teach English and travel the world

Remember those friends who finished university, travelled the world and got paid for doing it? Now could be your chance to do the same.

The University of Cambridge runs the Celta course, the international standard of English teaching qualifications. It covers the principles of effective teaching and gives students a range of teaching techniques and practical experience.

Celta-qualified teachers are typically the most sought-after by schools worldwide, with many going on to teach everywhere from Thailand and Tanzania to Peru and Panama.

DC Teacher Training, which operates centres in four British cities, runs two online courses for international students – the full-time version lasts four weeks and the part-time one runs one night a week for 13 weeks.

The next part-time course open to budding teachers in the UAE begins on January 12 and will run on Fridays from 5pm to 10pm. It is priced at £1,350 (Dh6,080) with a £100 (Dh450) early-bird discount.

More information is available at

Stretch your abilities as a yoga instructor

For once, bending over backwards to help others could be of real benefit. Becoming a qualified yoga instructor can be a rewarding way to earn extra money, build extra skills or merely stay a little extra Zen during the week.

Unlike some upskilling courses, this one is best taught in person and can be mastered in as few as 200 hours. The aim is to help students reach a level where they can comfortably teach group or private yoga sessions while providing in-depth knowledge about form and posture, history and philosophy, therapeutic values and the various disciplines.

There are many affordable courses throughout the UAE, with Kaya Yoga being one of the most popular in the capital. Training is hosted at the House of Nature in Al Bateen. Courses for 200 hours run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with the next ones set to begin in February. Prices start at Dh13,900.

More information is available at

Become a digital marketing guru

You are the student, Google is the teacher and the class is all about mastering the world of online. From finessing digital marketing approaches, getting to grips with Google Analytics, applying data to boost your business or simply learning how to stay safe online, there are lots of classes to take.

The best part? They’re free. Some classes can be done in five minutes, while others stretch up to 40 hours. They’re designed for all ages and experience levels and can be taken at a time that suits you.

There are live events, webinars and pre-recorded videos to complement the classes, and those who “graduate” are given a certificate saying so.

The programme of subjects is frequently updated and new topics are added regularly. It's one way to stay up to date with the ever-changing landscape of digital working.

More information is available at

Improv your public speaking

Dubai’s Courtyard Playhouse runs monthly workshops for adults, covering both acting and improv.

While there is an online course, the chance to hone one’s skills in a public forum – or stage – can go a long way to preparing to perform in front of a live audience.

The hands-on workshops in Al Quoz blend creative collaborations through theatre and aim to develop versatile performance skills, vocal skills, characterisation and physical expression.

The 14 hours of tuition includes stage time in the professional theatre and feedback from professionals. It culminates in a live show in front of friends and family.

Many alumni have used the courses to enhance confidence when speaking in public, rather than fulfilling dreams of becoming a leading lady or man in Hollywood, although that is always an option.

Alongside the monthly programmes, which start at Dh1,950, there are a range of classes for all ages, abilities and availability. The full schedule can be found online.

More information is available at

Take picture-perfect photos

If you find yourself increasingly becoming the dedicated photographer on a night out, or shepherding family into the best position for a sunset snap to shine on Instagram, it could be the activity to pursue.

Gulf Photo Plus, one the country’s best-known upskilling schools, has taught more than 15,000 how to finesse their photography abilities and offers a variety of courses for a broad range of skill levels.

Classes run in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and around the UAE if booked as private lessons, and can be tailor-made to suit students. They range from beginners to experts, iPhone photography to editing and post-production.

One-off group classes start at Dh260 for iPhone photography and Dh595 for level one and two qualifications. The next available session is a beginner-level class for iPhone photography and editing, running on January 13. It will take place at Gulf Photo Plus’s centre in Alserkal Avenue.

More information is available at

Become bilingual

Arabic is not the first language for many residents in the UAE. And while the country doesn’t require anyone to speak anything but English to live harmoniously, those who can speak both are increasingly in demand by employers.

There are a range of schools offering both online and in-person classes in the UAE, with Dubai’s Arabic Language Centre and Abu Dhabi’s The Mother Tongue Centre two of the most popular.

Courses range from beginner to advanced, can be completed full-time or part-time and are open to both children and adults. Prices vary depending on the level of the course, the length it will run for and the age of the student. It is recommended to check timetables and programmes online to find the right course.

More information is available at and

Train your fitness skills

Turn those late-night gym sessions into a career by becoming a qualified personal trainer. Globally, there are seemingly endless certifications and levels of training. However, the UAE’s Register of Exercise Professionals (known as REPs) requires budding trainers to complete one of its approved courses to be able to register.

Classes must be conducted by the likes of Active IQ, Focus Awards and Europe Active. Diplomas, training and courses can be completed in a range of disciplines such as personal training, gym instructing, advanced weight training techniques and fitness coaching.

Some of the approved training providers included Bodyhack, CareerSport Fitness Academy and Fitness First. It is recommended to visit REPs’ website for a full list of courses, schedules, prices and training centres.

More information is available at

Updated: December 29, 2023, 11:37 AM