x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Internships can boost career prospects for Emiratis

Internships are increasingly becoming vital for graduates, in the UAE and elsewhere. And they are a useful tool for employers, as well.

In the UAE, as in many other countries around the world, this is the season of university graduation ceremonies. But after the day of best wishes and high hopes, many graduates must now begin thinking about how to get the first break of their professional careers.

Some already have jobs lined up, and others will find good positions speedily. But many others are taking, or looking for, temporary summer internships to acquire some work experience - and, they hope, to earn a permanent place.

Internships are increasingly becoming vital for graduates, in the UAE and elsewhere. And they are a useful tool for employers, as well. While a 30-minute interview can help an employer to evaluate a potential employee, an internship of weeks or months gives a much better look at how an individual actually functions in that particular workplace.

Even though internship does not guarantee a full-time job, it does increase a candidate's chances to develop essential skills and acquire knowledge and experience related directly to one's career objectives.

Working closely with professionals gives a newcomer a good look at real life in the workplace.

Furthermore, internships often lead to useful contacts and references. Even if there are no vacancies where you interned, a recommendation can make it easier to secure a job elsewhere.

To be sure, employers do not offer internships only as an act of philanthropy. In many countries in the West, the use of interns has increased dramatically in recent years. Since the global financial crisis in 2008, interns have come to be seen as a low-cost alternative to short-term hiring. So far, fortunately, this sort of exploitation seems to be less common in the UAE, which is encouraging its citizens to join the private sector.

The other benefits of internship programmes to employers are well-known. Organisations can use interns to complete short-term projects, or fill in for permanent workers on holiday. Even in the Middle East, 36 per cent of companies look for interns simply to reduce expenses, according to a recent survey by Bayt.com.

Well-run internship programmes can offer Emirati graduates exposure to private business, where landing a permanent job can lead to rapid promotion and, in multinational firms, the chance of international careers.