The Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute offers Emiratis diploma programmes that blend theory with hands-on training, reports Dina El Shammaa

Some Emirati students are opting for vocational education rather than a university degree since it offers them a blend of academics and practical hands-on experience, making it easier for them to find a suitable job once they are done.

The first Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI) opened its doors to Emirati students in 2007 attracting 326 enrolments.

However, the number soon rose to 886, leading to branches being opened in Al Ain and Al Gharbia in the Western Region this September with 410 students.

The diploma courses offered at the institute are what Nizar Luqman, executive director of ADVETI calls "designed and chosen for students to meet today's market needs".

The courses include information technology in networking and multimedia; travel and tourism management; multimedia design; fashion design; graphic design; interior design; library and information services; paralegal studies; project management and finance and property development and marketing.

"Education is vital and each university ... has its own strategy with students. At ADVETI we help students follow their desired academic route while gathering practical hands-on job training and experience, which helps prepare them later on for the competitive job market," Luqman told Notes.

Different experience
Shaikha Al Kitibi, 22, is studying multimedia. She initially enrolled in Zayed University but moved to ADVETI.

"I came to the institute six months ago and find it very different from any other university. There's a high level of respect, trust and communication between teachers and students. Not to mention how much practical experience I'm receiving now," she said.

Shaikha is currently learning how to use various programmes to enhance her photography skills.

"Out of seven brothers and three sisters only two of us have completed our education and I am looking forward to working in the media once I finish either as a television presenter or by using my camera skills backstage in a broadcasting agency," she said.

Hantoma Al Mazroui, 23, is also studying multimedia, although her real interest lies in tourism.

"I couldn't find morning classes in tourism, so I decided to major in my second best option which is multimedia and I am glad I did, because I can use multimedia to help promote tourism in the UAE by taking shots of the natural landscapes and exotic scenery in our country," she said.

Hantoma hopes to work with a public company and gain experience in both tourism and multimedia. "The institute teaches you how to work and study at the same time without stress. It becomes a pattern of life for you and you learn how to multitask," she said.

Growing student body
ADVETI, with a student strength made up of 60 per cent females and 40 per cent males, has a huge waiting list of applicants. More male students are learning about the institute and are submitting applications.

Eisa Ahmad Bin Yarouf, 27, has been working with the police for the past nine years and regularly undertakes volunteer work. His demanding schedule means he has never been able to complete his education.

"I love studying and I was relieved to find both morning and evening classes at the institute, it's the perfect scenario for me. I enjoy studying project management and here they open your eyes to the business structure in the market and prepare you to work in a team and run one," he said.

Yarouf, who is studying project managemen is not very fluent in English, and is working on improving it in order to keep up with the competitive job market.

Mohammad Bainoyas, 20, is doing his vocational preparation programme and although just three months old at the institute, he has already made up his mind to pursue a diploma in business.

"The timings are good, we start at 9am and finish early," he said.

"The institute is also located in an area that is not very crowded so it's not frustrating to drive down here. I am also encouraged to take part in volunteer work and get hands on training, which is shaping my character and getting me ready to start running my own business. I am happy that I chose to study here," he told Notes.

High-level visit

Last week, Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, officially opened the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI).

"Providing Emiratis with vocational education is one of the UAE's main objectives in order to help students keep up with the growing market demand," said Al Nahyan in a briefing to the media during his tour of the institute.