The winners of the fifth Emirates Skills competition with Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State and President of Zayed University, at Adnec yesterday. The winners demonstrated extraordinary technical and vocational skills in 19 categories and won prizes for their efforts, with three coming on top in each category. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Commitment, determination and active cooperation among local community members is the key to succeed and achieve professional careers in the future, winners at the Emirates Skills competition told Gulf News.

The fifth Emirates Skills programme, which was launched in 2008, honoured 81 winners to promote excellence in workmanship within the UAE and develop a high degree of accuracy and precision in technical skills among young Emiratis.

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairperson of the UAE General Women’s Union, the competition celebrated unique and exceptional home-grown talents.

Salma Ebrahim and Noora Mohammad, who won the first place under the mechatronics category, applied online through Emirates Skills website and were lucky to be among the exceptional talents.

“I heard about the competition in our Applied Technology high school. Teachers encouraged us to enter the competition and showcase our skills. I have always been interested in the field of mechatronics. I attended several workshops for almost three weeks to gain more knowledge and confidence,” Salma, 17, told Gulf News.

“Salma and I have worked on inventing a drilling machine that can perform different operations. The competition has provided us with all the necessary tools to complete our project in almost four hours among 10 other teams who are competing in the mechatronics category,” Noora, 16, explained.

Out of 400 Emirati pupils, university students and employees, 81 applicants were honoured at a ceremony held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

“Winners have demonstrated extraordinary technical and vocational skills in 19 categories in craftsmanship and technology by challenging their peers. Web security, programming and robotics saw the greatest number of winners,” Ali Al Marzouqi, head of Emirates Skills, told Gulf News.

Prestigious prizes and awards were given away to high performers. Three winners were announced in each category. The first, second, and third prize winners received Dh21,000, Dh6,000 and Dh3,000 respectively.

Mohammad Abdul Karim, another 17-year-old winner, told Gulf News, “I won the first place under the electronic category. The given tasks including soldering and programming took me around 10 hours. My task was to program the digital display in different washing machines or other equipment.”

Around 31 companies took part in the Emirates Skills National Competition which allowed participants to discover new skills, attend workshops, get career advice on technical and vocational education in the UAE and meet educators, experts and representatives of major industries.