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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 August 2018

Helping youngsters to enter the private sector is crucial

Part-time jobs and internships are the best way to offer an insight into daily working life

Fireworks on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, where many private sector firms are based. Al Maryah Island
Fireworks on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, where many private sector firms are based. Al Maryah Island

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has paved the way for school pupils, aged 15 and above, to obtain paid part-time employment during holidays. This is one of many initiatives that seek to propel young Emiratis into the private sector by giving them direct experience of the rewards on offer.

In the UAE, the public sector has historically been seen as the more prestigious and rewarding career path. After all, it is the country's leadership, as embodied by the founding father, Sheikh Zayed, which has led the way in terms of innovation, ambition and creativity, finding great success in the process. So it is hardly surprising that the government would be the most alluring potential employer for new job seekers.

However, times change. More and more today, the UAE's success is based on responding to an evolving world. In the future, the country wants to be considered among the top 10 nations on earth; in order to get there, certain realities must be accepted. The fact that youth unemployment and underemployment in the Middle East is among the highest in the world makes the issue all the more pressing.

The UAE has a young population. Creating enough jobs to provide for this talented and forward thinking generation is a critical part of the country's ambitions. This, it could be argued, means that taking opportunities to work in the private sector is now as critical a part of nation building as serving the government has been for the past 47 years.

The private sector also offers many benefits. A more efficient form of meritocracy – in which the cream rises to the top faster – is one of them. It can also provide a more intensive environment for developing skills, emotional intelligence and a better understanding of the world, given the diversity – of colleagues, assignments and international markets – it offers.

However, to truly understand what is on offer, one must experience it. Part-time jobs and internships have always been the best way to give youngsters an insight into daily working life. Paving the way for more school-age pupils to acquire this experience will help them discover a world of rewarding opportunities once their education is complete.

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