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As Dubai maintains its position as one of the world's leading tourism destinations, the importance of vocational training in shaping a skilled workforce has become increasingly evident.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in educational choices, with more students recognising the value of vocational studies over traditional technical education. This transition not only benefits the students themselves but also contributes to the sustainable growth of the burgeoning tourism industry.

A robust vocational education offering will also support a key priority of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which is to integrate the next generation of Emiratis into the private sector and attract highly skilled talents as long-term residents.

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Tourism is a dynamic and rapidly evolving sector, and is a significant contributor to economies worldwide, fostering cultural exchange, economic development, and job creation. I can proudly say that Dubai is firmly on track to becoming the most visited international destination, welcoming 6.02 million international overnight visitors from January-April 2023.

As tourism is a key pillar of Dubai’s economy and we are focused on accelerating momentum across the sector in 2023 and beyond, we also recognise the importance of catering to the growing demand for skilled people for the tourism workforce.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), with the global travel and tourism sectors heading towards full recovery and well set to outpace global growth, the industry is expected to create 126 million new jobs by 2032. However, to fully harness the potential of tourism, it is crucial to invest in quality vocational education that caters to the unique needs of this industry.

A pivotal role in career development

Vocational education plays a pivotal role in career development, skill enhancement, and increases employability. By bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, vocational training offers students a comprehensive understanding of their chosen field.

Beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, vocational training provides hands-on experience and prepares students for the real demands of their future careers. Immersive learning environments, alongside the opportunity for students to work alongside industry professionals, instils valuable insights and provides trainees with the confidence to excel in their chosen career path.

Students are trained by experienced professionals who bring real-world expertise and insights to the classroom. This practical exposure ensures that graduates are job-ready from day one, possessing the necessary skills and competencies demanded by the tourism industry.

The evolving needs of the tourism industry make vocational education even more essential. With the growing popularity of experiential travel and the demand for personalised services, a specialised workforce becomes crucial.

By focusing on vocational education, we at Dubai College of Tourism are able to cultivate a talent pool that understands the complexities of the hospitality sector, excels in customer service, and appreciates the nuances of event management and culinary arts. These skills are instrumental in creating memorable experiences for visitors and leave a lasting impression of Dubai's world-leading hospitality industry.

Dubai has witnessed a surge in the demand for vocational education, reflecting the recognition of its importance among students and future employers. The shift towards vocational training stems from the understanding that it enhances career prospects and provides practical skills highly sought after in the job market.

A highly competitive environment

Institutions like our Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) contribute to meeting these aspirations by offering vocational programmes tailored to the industry's requirements and enable students to compete in a highly competitive environment.

The success stories of vocational education are exemplified by DCT graduates who have secured fulfilling careers and become ambassadors of Dubai's renowned hospitality. Their passion, combined with the skills acquired through vocational training, propels them to excel in their roles and contributes to the continued success of the industry.

In conclusion, the significance of vocational training in the development of a thriving tourism industry cannot be overstated.

In fact, since the inception of Dubai College of Tourism in 2017, I am privileged to witness first-hand the transformative impact that vocational education has on individuals and the tourism ecosystem as a whole. Embracing vocational studies equips students with practical skills and specialised knowledge, enabling them to excel in their chosen careers.

As Dubai continues to shape the future of the tourism sector and remains committed to promoting excellence in education, let us recognise the power of vocational education in fostering a skilled and dynamic workforce that elevates the city's reputation as a global hub for business, investment and tourism.

Essa Bin Hadher is the General Manager of DET’s Dubai College of Tourism