The UAE has announced the pilot launch of a training programme for Emirati students from the ninth grade to the final year of their higher education. The ‘professional and practical training programme’ is designed to enhance Emiratis’ integration into the private sector.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) said the pilot phase will run for one year, bringing together 3,500 students at various stages of their education. After this, the programme will gradually expand over a period of five years to include all students from grade nine onwards.

Aisha Belharfia, acting undersecretary for Emiratisation Affairs and assistant undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the MoHRE, said: “The programme aims to expand career prospects for targeted students, familiarising them with the fundamentals of work, and underlining the important role the private sector plays and the opportunities it has to offer.”

The programme includes two tracks: A ‘General’ one that covers high schools; and a ‘Professional’ one that includes all stages of secondary and post-secondary education.

In coordination with private sector companies, the programme offers weekly financial incentives to students who are nominated by academic institutions.

The scheme is part of the government’s efforts to reshape Emiratis’ perceptions of the private sector from an early age. It also aims to build their expertise so they can find suitable career opportunities that align with their academic paths.

“Targeting young people at an early age has numerous benefits,” Belharfia explained. “At that … age, they are open to exploring their capabilities and potential, and are still building their aspirations. We guide them towards the right career path that enhances their role in the country’s development and progress.”

This is in line with the government’s plans to expand the share of Emirati citizens working in the private sector. The programme will strengthen ties between Emirati students and private sector companies to support processes for transferring skills, enhance professional relationships and facilitate employment opportunities. It will also help align education with private sector needs and requirements.

“The programme provides an opportunity for students in the target group to develop the skills and experience they need to qualify for the best professional opportunities in the private sector,” the MoHRE official added. “It works to create balance and harmony between the education system and the labour market, and ultimately supply the private sector with qualified young UAE professionals with tremendous potential for success in various fields.”

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