Dubai Knowledge Park fills growing demand from Chinese vocational students in the UAE’s tourism sector
Growing Chinese inbound tourism, a boost in new investments and increased job opportunities in the tourism sector are enhancing Dubai’s attractiveness as an education and training hub for professionals from China.
With the number of Chinese tourists coming to Dubai growing, it has become increasingly important to train qualified talent to serve this emerging market segment – the number of visitors from China grew 12 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, delivering 258,000 more tourists in comparison to last year, according to the Dubai Tourism Authority. Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), the region’s prominent hub dedicated to human resource management and learning excellence, is helping meet this demand by supplying targeted vocational training courses through its partner institutions and attracting working professionals from China to come study in the UAE.
Recognising the need to equalise qualifications, recent agreements between educational authorities in China and Dubai have enabled greater levels of collaboration in higher education and student exchange, meaning educational degrees obtained in Dubai will be recognised in China. This, along with the ability to obtain visas on arrival to Dubai, has attracted a lot of interest within the international Chinese community.
In addition to growing tourism numbers, Dubai – which is placed at an important geopolitical location along China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) multi-billion dollar initiative – has made a persistent effort to welcome Chinese businesses. A significant increase in the number of investments and Chinese businesses across the UAE are signs of growing Chinese economic involvement. China State Construction Engineering, Huawei Technologies and PetroChina are among leading employers of Chinese nationals in Dubai, offering lucrative private sector employment opportunities to those completing locally-based training thus making it a lucrative job market for young Chinese professionals looking for job opportunities in the private sector.
Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of DKP, said: “Dubai offers a wealth of opportunities for Chinese citizens. According to 2017 statistics from China’s Ministry of Education, the country has become the largest source of international students. With more Chinese citizens venturing outside their country to expand their academic horizons and gain exposure to different cultures, DKP is witnessing a growing momentum in the number of Chinese vocational students and working professionals expressing an interest in building their futures here in Dubai.”
Partners at Dubai Knowledge Park are reporting an increase in Chinese professionals looking for courses in the Culinary, Aviation, Hospitality and Tourism, and Languages sectors.
Sunjeh Raja, Chief Executive and Director of the International Centre for Culinary Arts Dubai, the region’s leading culinary school, said China has become an important source market for the culinary centre. He said: “Given the need for authentic diversity in the hospitality and tourism sector in Dubai, Chinese professionals could hold the key to widening the talent pool and supporting the industry.”
Abdulla Mundock, Programme Director at Ecole Hôtelière Helvétique, a leading hotel management school in Dubai, said Chinese students choose Dubai over other locations because the city is safe, affordable and has a wide selection of study options. Mundock said the school is receiving “great demand” from Chinese students for hospitality and aviation studies. He noted: “Airports are moving away from being a place for procedures to an experiential destination of their own. This has added to the demand for frontline teams with not only a hospitality mind-set, but also specific language abilities.” He believes that the ease in visa requirements for Chinese nationals travelling to Dubai, the ‘Dubai Brand Proposition’, and ‘service customisations’ for travellers are unique selling points that are set to further attract Chinese travellers to the region.
Jenny Zhou, Managing Director of Oriental Wise Educational Consultancy, an educational consultancy service provider, said enrolment by Chinese students is growing by 10 per cent a year across all higher education institutions in Dubai including the vocational schools. Her company matches Chinese youth with Dubai schools and training centres, including Eton Institute and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.
Romina Mahtani, CEO at the Eton Institute, the region’s leading language school that has offered courses in 160 languages since 2006, said she has seen a “significant increase” in demand from Chinese students. She said that with more Chinese families moving to Dubai for work, there is greater demand from Chinese youth who wish to improve their English-language skills for the local workplace.
The demand for Chinese services, companies and products is set to increase in the lead up to Dubai Expo 2020, which is predicted to create several jobs in the UAE’s non-oil sectors. Bi-lateral trade between the two countries is also expected to increase by 5 per cent annually, indicating a strong need to strengthen professional relationships and networks in the coming years.