XpertLearning awards prizes in the ‘Skills for Employability’ workshop for Emirati students from vocational colleges in Dubai & Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, March 16, 2010. Xpert Learning teams up with British Council, Barclays Bank and Injaz-UAE, a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, to organize a free job skills workshop for Emirati students from vocational colleges in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Through role-playing scenarios and other activities, the students were taught some of the things they will need to join the workforce. “We were taught things we didn’t even realise we needed, and just through the knowledge of it, we immediately feel more confident,” said Ms al Mehairbi, an Emirati student attending the workshop. To highlight their support for this initiative, Xpert Learning offered prizes to the winners of a competition organized within the workshop. Paul Gledhill, Director and Co-Founder of Xpert Learning, one of the leading content and e-Learning solution providers in the Middle East, said that students had a great day and learned lots of useful things to help them in their quests for knowledge.

“The real story, however, is what happens next and how their progress are followed up. To this end, our prize comprised of a series of 6 x 1 hour online modules, which cover key skills to enhance their learning, as of that day. These courses include Leadership Essentials, Generating Creative and Innovative Ideas, Business Writing, Optimizing Your Work/Life Balance, Being an Effective Member and Managing Your Career,” said Mr. Gledhill.

He further added that, “the really interesting part is that, through our learning portal, we can track the usage of these courses by time spent, course completions and scores. We can also communicate with the students using social media like chat and discussion boards.”

Melanie Relton, the regional vocational education manager at the British Council, said students may have the technical knowledge once they graduate, but that there is still a skills gap. Employers say many graduates lack the practical skills, such as how to communicate, lead groups and solve problems creatively, that they need them to have.

Lara Khouri, a regional marketing manager for Edexcel, an international company that provides educational training, said employers were looking for people who are open to instruction, are willing to be trained and who want to keep learning.

Nora al Ali, 18, from the Abu Dhabi Women’s College, loved the training.

“It’s not that we’re being taught what we’re doing right and wrong in our presentations, but we’re also being shown how to interact, and that we should be interacting in the first place,” said Ms al Ali, a foundation-year student.

Ms al Ali said female students tended to be shy in a mixed environments and lacked confidence.

She said the training could help women candidates overcome their shyness and any lack of confidence.

“It is such a benefit to be given the opportunity to develop something new in ourselves, that we don’t learn about in college,” she said.

Rebecca Taylor, an English teacher at Abu Dhabi Women’s College, said her students were eager to take part in the training.

It was not compulsory for students, and yet they jumped at the opportunity to try something new that could benefit them. They get the chance to exercise newly acquired skills through practical exercises, and it fosters their creativity. This type of learning, added Ms Taylor, provides students with the chance to mix with other like-minded students from other colleges, which is good practice for the real world.

Louise King, a business teacher at Abu Dhabi’s Vocational Education and Training Institute (Adveti), also received positive feedback from her students.

“We build up their skills over two years in the classroom, but here, they apply these skills and new ones as well; it is applicable to students in all disciplines, regardless of what they are studying.”

A similar programme will be offered as an optional course to 10th and 11th graders, as well as first-, second- and third-year college students at the Abu Dhabi Men’s and Women’s Colleges, Adveti and the Dubai National Institute for Vocational Education.

“By working together with partners, future employers and business mentors, we can help students both professionally and through their own personal development,” Ms Relton said.