x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Valuable experience for Emirati students

Experience of low- and mid-level jobs in the private sector will be good for Emirati students as they embark on their careers.

Having an on-the-ground experience is always good for youngsters to learn professional and life skills. In the UAE, where the government is aiming to engage more Emiratis in the private sector, having work experience in private companies could push students to consider working in the sector. But the private sector offers more than a career.

As The National reported yesterday, hundreds of Emirati students aged 16 and 17 are being offered summer jobs in retail outlets as part of the Absher Emiratisation programme to boost students' interest in working in the private sector. After finishing one-week of training, school pupils will spend two-week placements in supermarkets such as Carrefour and LuLu. Some of them will work at Adnoc filling stations in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Students taking part in this programme will have the opportunity to gain skills that one cannot obtain in a regular desk job. In the UAE, where parents usually provide their children with their financial requirements, this initiative is important not only for Emiratisation. Summer jobs can help to foster a culture of independence and self-reliance among young people. The experience will also introduce them to the realities of life for other people in society.

Having work experience in low- and medium-skill jobs can help to create a generation that is better prepared to take on much bigger jobs in unconventional fields in the country. It could also help students to envision the future; what kind of field they want to study and what type of career they want to take. And as the job market is becoming more competitive than ever before, any experience could give them the edge over others.

The practice, however, should be far more common among young people in the UAE. This initiative is a good start; more students will hopefully follow the lead in the future. Other companies must offer similar programmes.

The Absher Emiratisation scheme gives the applicants the chance to work in various positions: in retail sales, customer relations, stock replenishment and cosmetic consultancy.

During these three weeks, this group of students will also have the opportunity to learn not only about work, but also about the world around them.