Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh


    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Monday, February 01, 2010


    One of the most senior Middle East delegations ever to visit Queensland has today signed an agreement with the State Government allowing them a first hand insight into how Queenslanders are educated and trained.

    Premier Anna Bligh said Queensland would now share its successful vocational education and training strategies with one of the world’s richest regions, thanks to the partnership signed today with Abu Dhabi.

    She said Queensland was already leading the way in offering training to UAE workers, with an agreement reached for up to 200 nurse trainees each year to complete their training at South Bank Institute of TAFE and QUT, with the first intake of 70 to arrive in July.

    “My visit to the UAE last year was a revelation - I think everyone knows that Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s busiest regions in terms of infrastructure delivery and I think it speaks volumes that they would come to Queensland and seek out our education and training systems,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Our education and training models are world class and one of the world’s most powerful and go-ahead regions wants them.”

    Ms Bligh said today’s agreement is the latest partnership between Queensland and Abu Dhabi, following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2009 and a series of trade missions.

    Ms Bligh said Education Queensland already had a relationship with the UAE through the establishment of the Australian International School in Sharjah, which was opened in 2005.

    This school – staffed largely by Queenslanders – has over 1,000 students studying a Queensland curriculum.

    “The United Arab Emirates is Queensland’s largest merchandise export market in the Middle East and strengthening our relationship will offer extensive opportunities for the growth and promotion of our already successful education and training organisations.

    “We are working hard to keep our skills at the cutting edge and targeting ongoing training to support workers and businesses with a range of strategies including a Trade Training Taskforce to help apprentices and trainees during the fallout of the global financial crisis and a plan for three in every four Queenslanders to hold a trade, training or tertiary qualification by 2020.

    “With some of the world’s best teachers and an internationally renowned education and training environment, we are proud that the world wants to learn from us.”

    Today’s delegation was lead by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson saidthe delegation from the UAE’s Tawteen Council met with Trade Queensland officials to sign the Letter of Cooperation that will grow the already strong relationship.

    “This agreement shows our innovations and achievements are coveted internationally,” Mr Wilson said.

    “Because Abu Dhabi relies largely on the abilities of expatriates who make up 80 per cent of its population, they want to learn how Queensland identifies and delivers training so it can improve the skills of its own local residents.

    “The Council, which focuses on employment for its national workforce, is particularly interested in how businesses engage with different stakeholders to develop skills, the way our ‘gateway’ schools link students with a range of industries as broad as healthcare and manufacturing, along with the strengths of our trade training centres and accelerated apprenticeship schemes.”

    Media contact: 3237 1000