Abu Dhabi // Etihad Airways has signed an agreement to offer work placements and specialist training to students of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT). The collaboration with the federal university is the latest in a series of initiatives by the national airline to increase the presence of Emiratis in its workforce. A memorandum of understanding was signed recently by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and chancellor of the HCT, and James Hogan, Etihad's chief executive.
"This agreement will play an important part in the development of the national workforce in aviation," Sheikh Nahyan said in a statement. "The partnership will be beneficial to both organisations and in the long term to the UAE as a whole." Students at the HCT will receive work placements at the Abu Dhabi-based carrier during their courses, and the airline will also put on seminars and workshops on subjects such as engineering, business administration, hospitality and personnel management.
"Etihad is fully committed to the development of UAE national talent within the airline and this new agreement with the HCT will enable both organisations to achieve their goals, which is a strong UAE national workforce," Mr Hogan said. Etihad's aim is for 15 per cent of its workforce to be Emirati by 2012. Other initiatives to increase the number of UAE nationals working for the company include an 18-month pilot training programme, which produced its first batch of six graduates in February.
In May a dozen Emiratis became the first to complete the airline's graduate management training programme, some of whom were given overseas postings including New York, Sydney and Melbourne. Etihad also recruits Emiratis into its call centre. In addition the airline has an agreement with Zayed University to provide Emiratis with internships, student sponsorship and summer jobs. firstname.lastname@example.org