AASTS participates in ‘UAE Youth Engagement for Better Tomorrow’

SHARJAH — Students from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Sharjah (AASTS) recently took part in a webinar organized by the Federal Transport Authority for Land and Maritime as part of UN International Youth Day celebrations.

Participation in this initiative is part of AASTS’ continuous efforts to adopt new methods that connect students with the maritime sector, which is one of key sectors that support global economy and trade.

The webinar covered a wide range of topics tailored for the UAE’s next generation of mariners. The UAE’s role in training only high-caliber candidates to build the nation’s maritime capabilities was viewed as paramount.

The range of state-of-the-art educational facilities was seen to be an important factor in attracting high-class talent. Bearing in mind the rapidly growing maritime, oil, gas, energy and offshore sectors it was recognized that it was necessary to attract more young people to the industry.

Yousif Yacoub Al Mansouri, director, office of the chairman for the board of trustees, AASTS, said: “Acknowledging the importance of high-caliber students, AASTS strives to provide world-class facilities and education for our students and as such we are proud to be the first choice for a maritime education in the UAE.

“The webinar demonstrated our students’ knowledge of the industry, especially in regard to commitment and social responsibility. It also encouraged innovative thinking, which is an essential skill to have in the maritime industry.”

Empowering innovative thinking

Eng. Hessa Al Malek, executive director of Maritime Transport at the Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime (FTA), said: “Maritime sector is one of the key pillars of our economy and to ensure we maintain the UAE’s global high ranking in the industry we have to focus on nurturing the mariners of the future. This kind of activity is necessary to stimulate young minds and promotes original thinking.

“We aim to help students explore future opportunities from a professional point of view, open up prospects for them to explore the possibilities of career development in the maritime sector, and encourage them to prepare for job requirements, both scientifically and academically”

Beyond academic study

Dr. Aysha Al Busmait, IMO goodwill ambassador and corporate communications director, at the Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime (FTA), said: “We realize that the educational process is not limited to textbooks and academic curricula. The idea of launching the “Youth Webinar” was to broaden horizons for our future generation and properly employ their capabilities.

“Thus, we added value for students by motivating them to be more creative and think outside the box while they continue their academic studies.”

The webinar also touched on controversial topics including gender discrimination in the industry. More women are now taking up leadership positions such as sea captains and ship masters and it was agreed this was a first positive step.

Al Busmait added, “Promoting the equality of women in the sector, especially Emirati women, and raising their profile is close to my heart. Empowering them is essential, particularly as the sector is the largest economy after oil and impacts the nation’s sustainable development. Debates such as these bring this issue to the fore.”

Dr. Ahmed Youssef, associate dean of the Maritime Transport Technology College, AASTS, said: “The maritime sector needs a lot of support from maritime academic institutions to supply the market with qualified young Emirati men and women.

“When our graduates go on to work on offshore ships or commercial vessels, they are equipped with a range of skills to enable them to demonstrate a high level of competency in their field. Testimonials from our alumni show that our specializations and extra curriculum activities give them a high level of competency and the ability to think outside the box.”

International Youth Day is celebrated every year on Aug. 12 and this year’s theme was Youth Engagement for Global Action. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the UN and the body is calling for it to be the year of dialogue, as the world is facing such challenging times. — SG