x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dubai Media City seeks to attract local graduates with job aid

DMC, which controls Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone, is pursuing it as part of the Dubai 2020 Economic Vision.

Mohammed Abdullah, the managing director of the Media Cluster.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Mohammed Abdullah, the managing director of the Media Cluster. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Dubai Media City (DMC) wants to encourage more local graduates to join the industry by helping them find jobs in the free zone.

DMC, which controls Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone, is pursuing it as part of the Dubai 2020 Economic Vision.

Mohammad Abdullah, the managing director of the Media Cluster in Dubai, said DMC felt the market now had potential.

“There was hesitation before and there wasn’t much dialogue with academics and the industry,” he said.

“But now there is more willingness from the industry … to take in graduates.

“We are the ones hosting all these companies and putting them in touch with academic institutions. We have a plan to make it more systematic.”

The scheme will enable companies located in the business park to recruit the graduates keen to work in the creative industries, and enable third-year and fourth-year college students to undertake internships.

Mr Abdullah said cultural attitudes towards the media industry have “totally changed” over the past few years as more Emiratis view the media and creative industries as a viable career option.

“Fifteen years ago, you would see only a small number of Emiratis working in TV channels. Today you go to any of these media companies and you will see the number is growing year after year,” he said.

Separately, DMC is also supporting the Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity, part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The Dubai festival will have two awards specifically for students in an effort to encourage their participation.

The Lions awards are the most prestigious for the advertising, communications and creative industries.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region took home 32 Lions in June at Cannes, compared with 21 Lions last year and none in 2007.

Philip Thomas, the chief executive of the Lions Festivals, said the Middle East had been “a standout success story” in terms of growth in the last five years despite the dominance of Brazil, the United States and Britain.

Russia won six Lions this year, while Italy managed three.

The ongoing conflicts in the region are likely to affect the number of entrants, particularly in Egypt, but hopes are high, especially for Dubai Lynx, which is set to take place in March next year.

Entrants from the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon do particularly well, but Saudi Arabia remains among the most challenging markets despite its economic prowess. Advertisers are particularly limited because oif the high levels of restrictions and conservatism, according to Mr Thomas.

“There are two things that need to happen for great creative work to flourish,” said Mr Thomas. “The first is [that] the economy needs to move in the right direction, and the second is [that] clients have to be prepared to take risks.

“Advertising is one of the engine rooms for economic growth. Now more than ever, there needs to be creativity at the forefront of clients’ mind and the reason for that is the audience is not captive any more.”

thamid@thenational.ae