An international skills competition could be the inspiration for young people in the UAE to develop the necessary skills for jobs of the future
Many of the jobs of tomorrow don’t yet exist today and as the world continues to develop at a blistering pace, so do industries and vocations.
With new ideas, innovation and the introduction of new technologies changing the way we think, create, consume and behave, it’s difficult to predict how the job market will look ten years from now, never mind 50.
Hoping to inspire the next generation of youngsters, particularly Emiratis, to take a leading role, an international skills competition is about to take place in the capital, highlighting the significance the role of the private sector will be to the future of the UAE.
Can the event be the springboard to prepare the next generation of UAE youth for the work of the future?
Launched in 1950, the WorldSkills competition has mirrored shifts in society’s requirements for skilled workers, from a post-war economy that needed a new generation of workers to help it recover, to 21st-century talents who are taking up vocational training. It’s a change that’s also reflected in the UAE’s own development over the years: in a country where locals once boasted skills like boat building, pearl diving and weaving, today, new revenue streams and global competition require new skills to be learned in sectors such as technology, fashion and robotics.
Welcoming the world
From 15th to 18th October, Abu Dhabi will become the competition’s first host country in the Middle East and North Africa – and in true UAE fashion, it’s expected to be the largest WorldSkills ever. The international event, which is open to the public, will see more than a 1,200 skilled youngsters from all over the world go head to head to compete in 51 different skills tests from aircraft maintenance, stonemasonry, bricklaying and carpentry to 3D digital art, baking, hairdressing, healthcare and painting and decorating.
The four-day event will result in gold, silver and bronze awards being given to the best country in each discipline, as judged by experts in each field.
With a diverse range of skills on show including aircraft maintenance, electronics, health and social care and mobile robotics, the competition gives young people the chance to excel and develop skills that have widespread applications for the job market.
Leading the way for the region, the UAE boasts the largest participating team from the Arab world, with 34 skilled Emiratis tackling 31 of the 51 events under the umbrella of EmiratesSkills and its parent organisation, the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Training and Education (ACTVET).
UAE team competitors include Bader Abdulrazzaq in the patisserie and confectionery category, Sulaiman Ahmed in web design and development, Mariam Al Ali in graphic design technology, Hessa Al Shawab in fashion, Ibrahim Alraeesi in mobile robotics, Eissa Al Marzooqi in floristry and Ahmed Alamri in cabinet making.
Aside from the slew of competitors, opening the event up to school visits means that more than 80,000 students from around the capital are expected to attend the event to cheer on the national teams, as well as speak to experts, try hands-on skills workshops, receive career advice from industry-leading professionals and be inspired to pursue technical education after leaving school.
“It’s a hugely positive sign that so many students from the UAE will be interacting with one of the most important events ever to be held in Abu Dhabi,” says Fahar AlSuwaidi, head of skills competition projects ACTVET.
“We can promise all visitors plenty of intense competition between incredibly skilled young people from around the world.
“Seeing the huge variety of skills on display, such as mechatronics, landscape gardening, fashion, technology and cooking, is a fantastic chance to be inspired and take the next step towards becoming a skilled professional of the future and contributing to the UAE’s economic diversification.”
Facing the future
Placing an emphasis on innovation, the UAE is already making preparations to diversify the economy and create a sustainable platform for growth in the decades to come.
But it’s the ability of the next generation to adapt to the challenges that lie ahead, assess the world around us and reinterpret it, that will be integral to the UAE’s future prosperity.
Hoping that WorldSkills can inspire future generations and empower Emiratis to pursue careers in the private sector, HE Mubarak Saeed Al Shamsi, director general of ACTVET, believes the legacy of the upcoming event can be a lasting one.
“We want to bring industries closer to the education sector,” explained HE Mubarak Saeed Al Shamsi.
“We want to empower the young Emiratis; this is a key goal for us and we are trying to encourage more people to seek careers in the private sector.
“The most important thing for us is to empower young people in pursuing a
“Technical education does not have a limit, you can keep learning and developing.
“And when people ask what are the UAE’s limits, we say it’s not even the sky, it’s more. Where other people say, ‘think outside the box’, we say, ‘there is no box’.
“We have no limits in supporting young Emiratis and empowering them. We want to make people aware of the importance of technical education. There are so many golden opportunities, for the individual and for the UAE as well.”
Supporting this effort to create a lasting legacy, a first-of-its-kind International Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Youth Forum will also be held from 14th to 15th October alongside WorldSkills Abu Dhabi.
Giving youth a voice, young professionals will get the opportunity to help influence the future of their industries by continuing discussions on a range of global challenges including the economy, happiness and tolerance, innovation and entrepreneurship.
In the months leading up to the competition, young professionals have been using online platforms to discuss specific global challenges. During the Youth Forum, these topics will be used to draft up and finalise a Youth Declaration to be delivered to a group of global policy-makers with the aim of presenting their vision of the future and create positive change.
The final declaration will be unveiled and accessible to the public at the Open Majlis on the 15th October.
For more information, visit: worldskillsabudhabi2017.com
- Launched in 1950, the competition is currently held every two years
- WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is the 44th WorldSkills Competition
- Competitors from 58 member countries and regions will take part
- There are 51 skill categories in 6 skills sectors
- 1,259 competitors are expected to take part
- 80,000 UAE students are registered
- 1,000 international volunteers will help the event take place to attend
Need to know
What: WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017
Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, off Khaleej Al Arabi Street
When: 15th-18th October, opening times vary
Tickets: Entry is free but prior registration is required online