x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fujairah students train for life outside classroom

The British Council has been roped in to prepare students at the Fujairah Women's College for the workplace and beyond, imparting skills for life such as teamwork and stress management.

Sherry Farzami, Project Manager at the British Council, lectures at a skills employability workshop for young women at Fujairah Women's College.
Sherry Farzami, Project Manager at the British Council, lectures at a skills employability workshop for young women at Fujairah Women's College.

FUJAIRAH // Students at Fujairah Women’s College took their learning outside the classroom on Thursday as they studied skills for life.

As part of a half-day workshop run by the British Council, students of all years were prepared for the workplace, undergoing training including teamwork and presentation.
Lana Ayyash, the college’s careers adviser, said the workshops were a way of preparing students for their futures.

“The job market is so competitive so it’s not enough to just have an education,” Ms Ayyash said. “It’s about equipping them with the skills and the attitude to help them secure a rewarding position.”

Focusing on group work, the workshop challenged the 52 women to look at their own strengths and weaknesses.
Sherry Farzami, conducting the workshop for the British Council’s education team, said workplace preparation was a key skill.

“The earlier you catch students the better,” Ms Farzami said.

“It should even begin as early as school. These aren’t just skills for employability but skills for life.”

All students at the college, which is part of the 17 Higher Colleges of Technology, take up work placements while completing their undergraduate degrees.

They say such workshops have helped prepare them for those placements.

“It’s very important for us,” said Miriam Mohammed, 21. “We really need workshops to help us improve skills to make us ready for work.”

Ms Mohammed, a final-year student in e-business management, said she was now more confident.

“We need to know how to communicate in teamwork, to be able to give presentations and learn leadership skills,” she said.

Sarah Aalali, 22, a final-year corporate communications student, added: “It’s not just information we learn from teachers in a classroom, but we also learn a lot from each other.”

The focus on soft skills fills a gap in their education, said Aisha Al Hamadi, 22.

“It’s good not to just focus on books,” Ms Al Hamadi said. “This is relevant to your daily life and we learn what we’re good at and how we can improve ourselves.

“In our lives in general, these skills are valuable.”

Ms Mohammed added: “We can communicate with people we don’t know, people of all nationalities and ages. This isn’t just like being in a lecture where you listen to someone talking to you. It’s fun and interesting.”

Workplace preparation is a vital skill at all of the HCT colleges, which focus on graduating work-ready students, Ms Ayyash said.
Discussions included what makes a strong team member, what qualities are admired in a team member and what are the students’ own qualities or weaknesses.

“We don’t want to just leave this until the end,” Ms Ayyash said. “We need to get them ready from the beginning.”
She said the girls were aware of the importance of such training.

“It’s the attitude they show when they go on work placements and go for interviews,” Ms Ayyash said. “They know they have to qualify for the job they want beyond simply a degree.”

mswan@thenational.ae