On domestic front not the best way to start the new season with being away from home two nights last week and three nights this .In total I spent 36 Hours in United Arab Emirates and 20 in the air. It rained continuously for 30 of those I spent on the ground . I arrived with the first heavy rain they have had in the last two years. Made for a late arrival, my flight was initially diverted to Muscat - where I see thanks to John Connell,
the weather was good - and then had a terrifying journey from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
. I understand the norm is to drive at 80 miles an hour tail gateing
the car in front, my driver refused to vary from this in the deeply inclement conditions ( wetter than a wet day in Argyll
) - we passed four pile ups in our direction of travel and spotted at least two on other carriageway. Made for white knuckle ride.
Delay also meant I went straight from the Airport to conference
We have a number of centres in this region doing Oil and Gas related awards but my visit was as a guest at an Economist Conference on World Challenges in 2008
I stayed awake partly due to the splendid surroundings. The Emirates Palace is one of only two seven star hotels in the world but mainly due the the quality and relevance of the presentations.
I can only bullet these - but the main worry is the well documented ongoing world credit crisis, combined with threats of global inflation Oil was clearly highlighted but prices of staple goods in China and developing parts of world have risen by 40-70% in last year. Oil price also gives local economy challenge in way that would be envied around rest of world - oil as moved from $12 to $100 per barrel in short space of time. They are faced with what was described as an an investment challenge.
- On other fronts worries that Chinese economy is covering some economic challenges until post Olympics
- That next Google maybe in Bio Sciences
- That Sovereign Wealth Funds and other investors with surpluses are facing political protectionist challenges around the world ( globalisation needs global markets)
- One example - 3 years ago most commercial property in Germany was bought by Germans last year 80% was bought by international buyers. This model is replicated in many markets
- Global Shortage of business Leaders who understand business
- NATO presentation on danger of new conflicts over global resources at time where we particularly in west are wasting enormous amounts of energy and other inputs that still go into landfill.
At the end of day I slunk back to my more usual budget accommodation and managed a quick sweep around town on following morning before I started my return trip. Dubai and particularly Abu Dhabi
are what can only be described as boom towns with all the lures and downsides of this process. I met many from around the world on the make and many fantastic Arabs who are the humblest of peoples.
We work hard to keep our vocational portfolio aligned with both UK and Global Demands. Would that more folks in Scottish Education were aware of the dramatic changes in Beijing and places like this . If you want to drive the world's tallest crane, hone your hospitality skills to the highest standards, develop businesses in very short time frames or memorably in Beijing give every street trader a basic on-line food hygiene programme in advance of Olympics you will learn these skills in the developing world not in our own backyards anymore. Education and Training is a global marketplace and I am glad we're out there.