Youth chief’s message to companies
Companies are being urged to take on university students as interns to give them a chance of gaining experience in the workplace.
Emirates Foundation yesterday hosted its Kafa’at Internship fair to bridge the gap between education sector and private sector.
The event was aimed at encouraging Emiratis to join the private sector workforce, although expat students were welcome also.
The event saw 50 firms – such as Masdar Institute, Nakheel and Emirates NBD – on hand to discuss internships.
Clare Woodcraft-Scott, CEO of Emirates Foundation, which promotes young people’s welfare, told 7DAYS it is hoped firms can help “bridge the gap” between education and the workplace.
She said: “We know that one area of young people’s professional development relates to employment in the private sector. And we believe there’s a missing piece of the puzzle here, which is the internship.”
Woodcraft-Scott said it is imperative that young people have an understanding of what private sector jobs entail, including the opportunities and the corporate culture.
She added: “It’s very difficult for young people to understand all that unless they have an actual experience inside the private sector.
“But at the same time you don’t necessarily want to push someone into a full blown longterm employment contract if they’re not yet sure. So an internship is a very powerful way of
By Shabnam Bashiri giving young people the experience of the private sector, without having to make a long-term commitment.
“We then reduce the risks of them ending up in a job or an area they’re not actually passionate about. And it would also reduce the risks of the private sector hiring someone that doesn’t have the right skills or aspiration.
“So I think more than ever now you need young people to have access to mentoring... to help them figure out where their skill set and passion lies.”
Asma Mahmood, 17, a first-year engineering student at UAE University in Al Ain, was among those at the event.
She said she would accept an internship regardless whether it was paid or not.
She said: “It’s not important. I want to gain experience. It’s not about the money that I take from them.
“I want to learn how a job works.” Mahmood has already completed internships at Carrefour and at the police department in Umm Al Quwain, and walked away from them with improved communication skills. She now seeks an engineering internship. Mahmood said: “I don’t know which specialisation to choose, like civil, or chemical, mechanical, or electrical.”