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Fri 1 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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Big demand for specialised courses

Vijaya Cherian explains why training is the new buzzword in the local industry.

Training is the new buzzword in the local industry. Early birds like the SAE Institute, which came and set up a base here in 2005, are now looking to expand to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Bahrain. I still remember my first conversation with Marco Betelli, who had then, just set up the SAE in Dubai. He mentioned that SAE was initially planning to offer only specialised audio courses and gradually provide training in production and editing. However, when he saw the huge demand for courses in production and post, the centre decided to offer them right away.

Likewise, the Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC), which is well known globally for its courses in 3D animation, visual effects and post-production, saw how successful its recently launched local franchise in Abu Dhabi was, and decided to open a centre in Dubai as well. Already, we hear that MAAC has plans to open a similar centre in Jordan as well soon.

Judging by the rapid expansion plans that these training centres have and the kind of investment they are pumping into the region, there is clearly a huge demand for specialised training courses. So far, the trend for nationals and expatriates has been to go abroad to do such courses and then return to work here. However, these training centres now bring specialised training courses to our door step. Additionally, their ties with local companies ensure that their students can intern with local studios and gain local experience as well.

Not to be outdone, traditional universities in the region are also either building brand new production facilities or upgrading their existing ones. Digital Studio has, in the past, reported about academic institutes that have invested significant capital in building state-of-the-art production facilities. We now have word that a university in Sharjah is building a US $6 million facility for its media students. It will apparently be one of the biggest in the whole of Asia and is comparable only with a couple in India. We'll bring you the updates once the facility is completed. Stay tuned.

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