|21 June, 2018

Growing demand from Chinese vocational students in the UAE’s tourism sector

Dubai Knowledge Park is supplying targeted vocational training courses

Image used for illustrative purpose. Chinese tourists visit the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Image used for illustrative purpose. Chinese tourists visit the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

DUBAI - With a growing number of Chinese tourists coming to Dubai, it has become increasingly important to train qualified talent to serve this emerging market segment.

The number of visitors from China grew 12 percent in the first quarter of 2018, 258,000 more tourists in comparison to last year, according to the Dubai Tourism Authority.

The Dubai Knowledge Park, DKP, the region’s prominent hub dedicated to human resource management and learning excellence, is helping meet this demand by supplying targeted vocational training courses through its partner institutions and attracting working professionals from China to come study in the UAE.

Recognising the need to equalise qualifications, recent agreements between educational authorities in China and Dubai have enabled greater levels of collaboration in higher education and student exchange, meaning educational degrees obtained in Dubai will be recognised in China. This, along with the ability to obtain visas on arrival to Dubai, has attracted a lot of interest within the international Chinese community.

In addition to growing tourism numbers, Dubai which is placed at an important geopolitical location along China’s multi-billion-dollar initiative, One Belt, One Road has made a persistent effort to welcome Chinese businesses. China State Construction Engineering, Huawei Technologies and PetroChina are among leading employers of Chinese nationals in Dubai, offering lucrative private-sector employment opportunities to those completing local training.

Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of the DKP, said, "Dubai offers a wealth of opportunities for Chinese citizens. According to 2017 statistics from China’s Ministry of Education, the country has become the largest source of international students. With more Chinese citizens venturing outside their country to expand their academic horizons and gain exposure to different cultures, the DKP is witnessing a growing momentum in the number of Chinese vocational students and working professionals expressing an interest in building their futures here in Dubai." The partners at the DKP are reporting an increase in Chinese professionals looking for courses in the Culinary, Aviation, Hospitality and Tourism, and Languages sectors.

Sunjeh Raja, Chief Executive and Director of the International Centre for Culinary Arts Dubai, the region’s leading culinary school, said China has become an important source market for the culinary centre. "Given the need for authentic diversity in the hospitality and tourism sector in Dubai, Chinese professionals could hold the key to widening the talent pool and supporting the industry," he said.

Abdulla Mundock, Programme Director at Ecole Hoteliere Helvetique, a leading hotel management school in Dubai, said Chinese students choose Dubai over other locations because the city is safe, affordable and has a wide selection of study options. Mundock said the school is receiving "great demand" from Chinese students for hospitality and aviation studies.

"Airports are moving away from being a place for procedures to an experiential destination of their own. This has added to the demand for frontline teams with not only a hospitality mindset but also specific language abilities," he said.

Jenny Zhou, Managing Director of Oriental Wise Educational Consultancy, an educational consultancy service provider, said enrolment by Chinese students is growing by 10 percent a year across all higher education institutions in Dubai, including the vocational schools. Her company matches Chinese youth with Dubai schools and training centres, including Eton Institute and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.

Romina Mahtani, CEO of the Eton Institute, the region’s leading language school that has offered courses in 160 languages since 2006, said she has seen a "significant increase" in demand from Chinese students. She said that with more Chinese families moving to Dubai for work, there is greater demand from Chinese youth who wish to improve their English-language skills for the local workplace.

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2018.