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Education key to solving industry issues

Salem Al Shafie, managing director of Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), discusses what the institute offers.

Salem Al Shafie
Salem Al Shafie

A career in construction is one of the most obvious choices here and Salem Al Shafie, managing director of Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), tells us what the institute offers.

What is DREI and what are its future plans?

DREI was launched in January 2007 as the first specialised real estate institute focused on real estate studies and research focusing on Dubai's market.

We have well-known academic institutions as our partners including - The Royal Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm; University of Reading, UK; Bond University in Australia; Swinburne University, MIT, University of Southern California and the Real Estate Center of the NY School of Law.

The institute has grown at a phenomenal rate within a short span of time. We were planning a move to our new premises in Dubai Academic City from our current location in Healthcare City within the next three years, but maybe we will have to do it sooner.

What are the objectives of the institute?

The key objectives of DREI is to develop the next generation of real estate leaders and entrepreneurs capable of pursuing challenging global opportunities; support the organisational capability building of the real estate industry; provide a broad spectrum of high quality educational programs to support career advancements; create a unique, dynamic learning environment for learning excellence; engage in high standard research, scholarships and intellectual endeavors and foster the exchange of knowledge about real estate issues and innovations, and facilitate the sharing of best practices.

What are the current challenges that the real estate sector in Dubai is facing?

There is inflation in costs of construction plus a shortage of skilled labour which is leading to a downslide in construction quality.

There is also need for development of real estate legislation and enforcement and the need to develop reliable and timely information. We also need advanced research UAE's on real estate and construction market. I have also noticed a delay in supply of infrastructure such as electricity, water, sewerage, telecom and transport.

There is also too much focus on upper-end housing and the middle and lower-income groups are being ignored. There is also a huge gap in reliable research.

I also feel there is a need to train people in mortgage brokering as recent reports suggest that UAE mortgages market will double to US $17.4 billion (AED64 billion) in 2011.

What are the programmes being offered at DREI and what programmes are you expecting to offer students in the future?

We currently offer a diploma in real estate, a postgraduate masters in property studies and short executive courses.

We have specific programmes tailored for various segments, such as, MRED diploma certificate programmes for graduate students; executive education programs for industry and business executives and middle rank management, professional development programs for practicing professionals and we offer organisations customised programs, research and consultancy.

We will offer a master's in real estate management and a master's in real estate (finance and investment) for the academic year 2009-2010.

We offer an existing RERA certification program for estate agents which will be further expanded in the future.

Can you tell us more about DREI's Resource Center?

DREI has established a specialised real estate resource center of its kind in the region. The Resource Center offers specialised books, online resources, print and e-journals, special reports and other databases, each of which houses extensive and well-researched information and diverse publications in the real estate sector.

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