NAT GITEX 2142-1682515466310
Universities and prospective students get a chance to meet up and explore educational opportunities at the GETEX event in Dubai on Wednesday Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Students at the Global Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX) in Dubai said that adding niche certification courses to their regular university studies have made them more employable in the UAE’s job market.

Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, inaugurated the 35th edition of GETEX today at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan tours GETEX 2023
Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan touring the exhibition Image Credit: Supplied

High-school graduate Senalda Sunil, 19, said: “Today, the need of the hour is to add on courses beside what your university offers.” She has done a course on LinkedIn learning, Python, Law toolkit from Yale, negotiation and leadership courses on Courser.

Senalda Sunil Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

“I have plans to learn more. The more variety we can add to our learning kit the better it is,” added Senalda, a graduate of GEMS Founders School in Dubai.

Her friend Jess Anthony, 18, agrees. Jess, who finished home school from Wolsey Hall Oxford, was attending GETEX scouting for short courses that he can add to his portfolio.

“I have done JavaScript; I’m also doing an internship in graphic design and video editing. The courses add a lot of impetus to our portfolios. It shows a potential employer our varied interests and capabilities. More so, these courses upskill students and make them attractive to potential employers,” he said.

Jess Anthony Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

‘Employment readiness’

Tristan Anderso, Assistant Student Recruitment and Admissions Manager at Middlesex University, said: “The main idea of our university is the employment readiness. If a student wants to take business management for example, there will be various specialisms within the department that students can explore. The first year is a holistic learning where they study different courses. The second year they have a fair idea where they are heading.”

Tristan Anderso Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

also read

Beyond degrees

Daniel Adkins, Group CEO of Transnational Academic Group, the education management service provider for Curtin University Dubai, said that with ChatGPT in focus from the start of 2023, education has changed forever.

“At Curtin Dubai we have introduced interdisciplinary units or topics into every degree programme. For example, every student regardless of their university major needs exposure to office productivity computer applications, critical thinking skills, decision making skills, and entrepreneurship and innovation skills. These skills are both included in the curriculum and are also supplemented with extracurricular seminars and workshops. With the rise of ChatGPT and other AI platforms, we are introducing the use of AI into every degree. Students learn how to use AI effectively to enhance and expand their abilities in order to compete in the workplace of tomorrow.”

Adkins added: “There was a time when only about two per cent of the population had university degrees and a degree essentially guaranteed a good job with a good company - that time has passed. For a university student to be successful in today’s highly competitive job market, they must have something more. Employers are looking for those things that are not part of the standard university curriculum, particularly soft-skills like creativity, decision making, negotiation, critical thinking, followership, and emotional intelligence.

“Universities like Curtin Dubai have developed small certification programmes that develop these skills and provide a way for employers to quickly determine who has these skills. As part of Curtin Dubai’s Employability Programme, which results in a certificate of completion, students are taught these in demand soft-skills along with skills for CV writing, interviewing, work ethics, and maintaining a professional social media presence. The students who have competed this programme are consistently favoured in hiring for internships and full-time employment by local employers and receive consistently excellent feedback on their performance.”

Topping up

Karan Rupchandani, a third year student of Amity University studying media, has been adding courses and certifications as well. “I have done courses in Eureka fest, Abode, marketing, social media, and sales. The portfolio looks great and the employer is just more comfortable hiring someone who has as many skills up their sleeve as possible.”

Karan Rupchandani Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Poornima Srinivas, in second year Animation at Amity, has done courses titled Blender, Maya, After effects, Animate, Zbrush, Photoshop, Illustrator, Davinci and Indesign. “The plan is to do more and more. Some of the extra courses were available at my university while others I did online.”

Poornima Srinivas Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Engaging learners

Professor Fazal Malik, Pro Vice Chancellor, Amity University Dubai, said: “With Dubai quickly emerging as a regional hub for higher education, GETEX provides a unique platform for higher education institutions to engage with potential students, parents, schools, and other stakeholders. In addition to universities in the UAE, GETEX also attracts higher education providers from the Middle East and beyond for student recruitment.”

He added: “Providing students with first-hand information about the subjects they want to study and the careers they want to pursue from potential teachers at this event is very empowering. In addition to helping universities meet their enrolment targets, GETEX is an excellent place for networking and increasing visibility in the higher education market. Over the years, GETEX has added more activities and events to this international exhibition, offering opportunities for academia-industry engagement, training workshops, counselor forums, and media opportunities for higher education providers.”

150 institutions under one roof

Running till April 28, over 150 educational institutions are taking part at GETEX.

This year, students have the opportunity to participate in new offerings from GETEX, including the Academia Industry Alliance and Conference, the Innovathon Competition and Tech Workshops, in addition to over 30 free-to-attend seminars.

Anselm Godinho, Managing Director of International Conferences and Exhibitions (IC&E), and organiser of GETEX, said: “With its innovative opportunities for both students and educational institutions, GETEX has always been a leading event in the field of education. It is even more significant today as the education sector in the region has experienced phenomenal growth, with a focus on improving access to education and enhancing opportunities for students. The advancement of innovative technologies and teaching methods has also contributed to the region’s educational quality.”