British universities link up with UAE industries to create jobs for graduates

Education leaders say Arabic is a vital tool for future business opportunities

FILE PHOTO: Britain's International Trade Secretary Liz Truss arrives at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), ahead of a cabinet meeting to be held at the FCO, for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown in London, Britain July 21, 2020. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
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The UAE is working with British educational institutions to help them establish a presence in the Emirates and work with leading industries to create jobs for graduates.

In an online forum held by the UAE-UK Business Council, business and educational leaders discussed skills needed for the future workforce.

The meeting heard that training in languages was vital.

Anna Yerokhina, of Pearson education group, said the pandemic underlined the need for basic digital and communication skills.

“Our workforce in the UAE and the UK is integrated with the world of work around the globe,” Ms Yerokhina said.

“Learning Arabic is very important if you want to do business between our countries.”

She said the UAE and UK could learn many different skills from each other.

Taner Topcu, director of the Academic Zone in Ras Al Khaimah, said industry and educational leaders working together could achieve the best results.

Mr Topcu said his group was working with the UK’s Department of International Trade to connect British institutions with UAE industry.

“We are now in discussions with some of the institutions from the UK to see how we can help them establish a presence here, or engage with our leading industries here in the Emirates so they can benefit from each other,” he said.

Managing director of the Lincoln College Group, James Foster, delivers high-quality education and training through commercial contracts in the UK and overseas, and the group runs three colleges in the north of England.

Mr Foster said softer skills, such as English-language training, were as important as curriculums.

“It’s about relevance," he said. "Softer skills are really, really important here.

"This is about real, career-ready, technical English language so those students can operate on an oil rig or in tourism and hospitality.”

Mr Topcu said it was important to help students with learning difficulties to become employed through vocational courses.

He said innovation, artificial intelligence, robotics and cyber-security skills were in high demand in the UAE.

"This kind of important skills development is definitely something needed," Mr Topcu said.