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Sat 5 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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University bid to close engineering skills gap

A Dubai university is launching a pioneering programme in a bid to reduce the shortage of qualified engineers across the GCC.

A Dubai university is launching a pioneering programme in a bid to reduce the shortage of qualified engineers across the GCC.

The region's first Master of Science in Systems Engineering will train students for a wide range of industrial sectors, including construction, manufacturing, energy and logistics.

The programme is being launched by The British University in Dubai (BUiD), with the first intake set for September 2009.

"The course will address the gap that currently exists within the Middle East engineering sector," said BUiD vice-chancellor Dr. Abdullah Alshamsi. "We also hope to create employment opportunities for Emirati youth, because many of the region's industries are looking for the next generation of professionals."

An adequately trained work force across the GCC nations would prevent companies having to search abroad for staff - a time-consuming and expensive process.

The huge growth in construction has left manpower services struggling to keep up with demand from employers.

To adequately prepare the workforce, the education sector must mirror growth in corresponding commercial and industrial sectors. The time it takes to train workers to an adequate level and to respond to changes in the market causes inevitable staff shortages.

"We have difficulty in locating resources in terms of qualified staff with the relevant technical skills, said Al Jaber Group HR director Ayman Nadim. "The market is moving and it's becoming an employee's market rather than an employer's market. Now the challenge is more on a global front."

"It's a case of alignment between the market needs, and educational institutions," Nadim said.

"There are moves towards aligning education with the market, especially through vocational training. We need technical people. More doers and managers."

There is currently a global shortage of qualified engineers in fields such as construction, and GCC bosses have frequently stressed the need for hiring and retaining more qualified staff at all levels of the industry.

"Systems engineering provides career opportunities across many industries," BUiD faculty of engineering professor Robert Whalley Dean said. "The launch of this specialist MSc will provide a boost for those participating. Many of the modules are linked to research projects and students will gain through exposure to an excellent research environment."

Academics plan to increase the course intake year on year as students wake up to the opportunities in the engineering sector.

The MSc has been developed by the BUiD in conjunction with the UK's University of Manchester, and has received accreditation from the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research.

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Redda 11 years ago

Actually its very great idea to do so, but the program didn't mention more detail about this university as the plans of educating, the period of this program, the costs and benifits after compleeting this program. Thanks

ken 11 years ago

What is the point of turning out more engineers when very few companies in Dubai are prepared to take on graduate engineers and give them the work training they need. My daughter who has a M Eng from the UK tried most engineering companies in Dubai only to find out they only want fully trained Engineers, and do not want to spend money on any training. It was only when she applied to an international company (McDermott) with forward thinking management that she found a place to start her on the job training.