The young people of tomorrow not only need to be equipped with marketable skills, but also the skills that will enable them to find professional fulfilment.
A creative approach to new employment
When is your job not just a job? When you love it.
The country's ambitious development and Emiratisation programmes are not just about economics, although that is obviously important. The young people of tomorrow not only need to be equipped with marketable skills but also the soft skills that will enable them to find professional fulfilment. Unless someone can find their vocation, they only show up at work for the paycheque.
As The National reported yesterday, The Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic) is recruiting Emiratis for training at Globalfoundries' microprocessor factories abroad in preparation for the opening of a manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi. It is hoped that these young professionals, who will gain experience in Germany, Singapore and New York, will take up senior positions in the microchip foundry that should be completed near Masdar City by 2015.
But it is not just high-level graduates that should be offered continuing education opportunities. For many, a four-year university degree is not a guarantee of finding their dream job. Some of the most notable business figures of today succeeded not because of a university degree, but by the strength of their own ideas.
For budding entrepreneurs, the UAE now provides several platforms for achieving their aims. The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders in Dubai, and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre at the Khalifa Fund in Abu Dhabi, which currently receives 1,500 applications a year, are at the forefront of these efforts.
These initiatives may shape a new generation in the workforce, but the country faces considerable challenges realising its dreams. As Khalid al Ameri writes today, starting a business can become bogged down in bureaucracy despite all of the government supports.
The UAE is now placed alongside the United States and Argentina because of the prevalence of social entrepreneurs, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor programme, a yearly assessment of the national levels of innovative activity. The programme ranks the UAE as 40th in the world in terms of the ease of starting a business, but regardless there is a long way to go before we match Singapore's number one ranking.
In recent years, the Government has set up support programmes, but success will be realised one ambitious young person at a time.