Innovative products mark World Youth Skills Day
July 16 2020 02:24 AM
Chris Buchakjian
Chris Buchakjian, digital fabrication lab and woodshop co-ordinator, and Andrea Cecetka, deputy safety officer, at VCUarts Qatar’s FabLab. (File picture)

Qatar Museums (QM) highlighted the remarkable project carried out by Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) to mark this year’s World Youth Skills Day yesterday. 
In an e-mail to Culture Pass members, QM noted that “the VCUarts Qatar team made and delivered two dozen infant face-shields to Dr Mai al-Qubaisi, a senior consultant and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Hamad Medical Corporation, upon her request.” 
Dr al-Qubaisi sought options to ensure the safety of newborn babies from contracting Covid-19 and reached out to Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), which referred her to VCUarts Qatar. 
She then approached digital fabrication lab and woodshop co-ordinator Chris Buchakjian and the FabLab team who used infant-sized dolls supplied by the university’s Health and Safety department to design the final product. 
This was the same team that also helped design and manufacture adult face shields for Qatar Foundation’s Primary Health Care Centre in Education City recently.
Observed annually on July 15, World Youth Skills Day aims to inspire and encourage the youth in acquiring many skills that would be beneficial for their personal interest and success, as well as contribute to global needs. 
Under the theme ‘Skills for a Resilient Youth’, the celebration this year featured several virtual events such as panel discussions organised by the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka to the United Nations, together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, International Labour Organisation, and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. 
QM’s IN-Q gift shop is also offering educational and experiment kits such as the water-jet powered car that will introduce children to science, engineering, and technology through play. 
Meanwhile, the Taqaddam Life Skills, a new free application designed to help young people develop essential skills for life, work and society, was also launched yesterday in Qatar to mark the annual event.
The app was developed by the British Council and HSBC Middle East through their joint programme Taqaddam (Arabic for ‘moving forward’), “a life skills programme for young people in the Middle East and North Africa”. Its four main components are student workshops, life skills classes, personal missions and team projects. 
The Taqaddam programme, according to the British Council, has reached more than 11,000 students and over 400 teachers in the past five years.

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