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Seb Anthony

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Hello. We are in the process of setting up a branch of Spark Training in Dubai. We are heavily involved with the UKTI and are trying to do things as well as possible for a long lasting presence in the UAE. We will be providing management training mainly. Has anyone got any experience of working in Dubai - either from a trainer perspective or organisational perspective? I would love to hear from you with any advice/ tips. Thank you
Matthew Jennings

11 Responses

  1. Dubai Experience
    Hi Matthew,

    I have a little experience training in Dubai and Doha. My best advice is be prepared for what might seem quite disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

    Don’t be surprised if members of the audience get up, leave the room and return hours later. Also don’t be surprised if family members turn up and sit in for parts of the session.

    In one place I delivered training people walking past the training room had a habit of coming in to see what we were doing.

    Set ground rules before starting but expect them to get broken.

    I hope this helps as I wasn’t prepared at all for it!



  2. Dubai Experience

    I have experience delivering training including management training in Dubai to mixed groups including those from UAE, the middle east and ex-pats living in UAE.

    Rather than trying to give some broad hints and tips I would be happy to answer any specific questions or talk with you on the subject.

    Feel free to reply or contact me at [email protected].

    Keith McDougall

  3. Gulf Experience
    I have been working in Kuwait for 5 years now and would be delighted to help out if I can. Kuwait is similar to Dubai with the sheer ratio of expats to locals and such an array nationalities. Kuwait is, of course, more restricted than Dubai.

    I can provide you with both a training facilitator perspective and from the view of a participant (I have recently completed MBA classes).

    Please contact me at [email protected]

    Kind Regards
    Jen Ellis

  4. Training in Dubai
    I built and now run a management and leadership training and development company in Dubai, and have been living and working here for almost 15 years full-time. I have worked in all of the Gulf countries at some point (frequently, in many cases) and would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

    We frequently bring facilitators from the UK and USA, so we are quite used to answering “What if?” and “What Do I Do First?” type of questions.

    Please contact me on ‘[email protected]’.

    Barry Cummings

  5. Thank you/ specifics
    Hello. Thank you very much for all your replies. Barry – I sent you an email but it bounced back. My email is [email protected]

    Any thoughts you have on training in Dubai would be appreciated, especially:

    • Venues
    • Quality of locally available trainers
    • Thoughts on flying in trainers – costs/ visas/ hotels etc
    • Delegate and Training Buyers attitudes to training
    • Strength of local competition
    • Red tape – visas/ local sponsor/ free zones etc
    • Any hidden costs/ extra costs that we may not have anticipated

    Any thoughts/ info at all would be fantastic

    Thank you again. Hopefully see some of you in Dubai?

  6. Training in Dubai

    We have over 2000 staff in the region and regularly run courses. Some info which may help on specific questions you had:

    – It is difficult to find good local providers and as a result we end up flying in the majority of trainers to ensure quality. You might find that the perception of locally based providers will make it more difficult in the early days to start up. Even including the cost of flights and hotels it can be be a lot cheaper to fly trainers in.
    – Hotel prices vary according to the time of year – during the summer they are incredibly cheap compared to the UK, but in the Autumn/Winter can be a lot more expensive and difficult to source as venues for programmes.
    – Regarding location I would pick where you are based very carefully as the traffic is terrible and the public transport undeveloped. It can take several hours to cover a few kilometers at rush hour, which causes problems for delegates on courses and often delays the start times.
    – Housing/long term accomodation is expensive, rents to to be paid up front for the year, and our staff are finding they are increasing rapidly. It is not uncommon to view a flat, agree the rental, then return with a cheque only to be told it has gone up by 25%.
    – One other point to be aware of is that you might find it difficult to identify who the right people in organisations to speak to are. Job titles do not always correlate with UK expectations of the role i.e. it is not uncommon for admin level staff to have the title of manager in HR especially if they are an Emirate.

    Hope this helps



  7. Bridget
    Thank you very much Bridget. The accommodation issue seems to be a big thing in Dubai, which we will have to bear in mind when commencing large projects, requiring multiple visits/ trainers.

  8. Dubai
    Hi Matthew

    I haved trained in Dubai for just over two years now and am still leraning about the culture, the City and the delegates! We train in Hotels and the pricies vary considerabley throughout the year with the various trade shows and exhibitions taking place. Sporting events also push the price up. When you are in the hotels though they look after your really well, all air conditioned, water, tea coffee and snacks if you have requested it. Many venues cahrge per delegate and include lunch.

    From the UK you do not need a visa (currently) and the flights vary again in price (school holidays and Xmas are expensive).

    Traffic is an issue and it is getting worse! although they are building a metro (a train system) which they hope will ease congestion.

    The delegates have a relaxed approach to training and timings but, you can work with this. I run 5 days training in one go and we aim to start at 8am but it usually ends up being 845am (traffic usually) Traininers coming from the UK will enjoy it, eating out is very cheap and just visiting the malls is an adventure!

    Hope this is of use to you.

  9. Working in Dubai
    Hi there, Good Luck with your venture.
    Dubai is a fascinating place to work, I have been involved in working with British Universities in Dubai for the last couple of years, using experiential learning as part of academic programmes. Participants have been exceedingly keen & wanting to learn which is very refreshing, however work does come first & as a result mobiles are often answered during programmes, delegates sometimes have to leave, even at the weekends, if work calls. Having said that they will also often stay well beyond the finish time just wanting to talk & learn.
    Traffic is mad & the metro is still a long way off but taxis are good & cheap. Food is good, shopping great & the mix & diversity of people amazing.
    It seems that generally non local trainers & qualifications are more highly valued & therefore there is a genuine desire to learn from ‘outsiders’ & considerable respect & gratitude shown.
    I have loved the experience & would also be delighted to help in any way I can, please feel free to email

  10. Kathleen
    Hi Kathleen. Could you give me your email address/ phone number, as I would like to talk further with you if possible. We are also working with universities, so it may be good to know a little bit more about what you do in case we can work together on any projects.
    My email is [email protected] and my number is 01273 301121.

  11. Interesting

    I have been in Dubai fro approx 3 years now. Its a great place to be in and life cna be frustrating here. However with all its ups and down it has great potential.

    If you are interested in someone to be part of your team then I would like to be considered.


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