Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has continued in its drive to recruit more nationals into the tourism industry, with the introduction of 'Taster days' to give Emiratis some hands on experience of a career in the sector.
More than 60 Emiratis took part in the two-day work placement scheme, which was organised in conjunction with Emirates Foundation’s Tawteen programme.
Nationals were placed in various hotels, resorts, entertainment companies and attractions including Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Flash Entertainment, Al Ain Rotana and Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort.
Nasser Al Reyami, Tourism Standards Director, ADTA said: "There is no substitute for hands-on experience. By being part of an organisation, job seekers get an informed perspective of how businesses are run, the inherent challenges and opportunities, and potential future career paths."
“It is part of our programme to reach a target of Emiratis representing two percent of Abu Dhabi’s total tourism workforce by 2012 – up from the current level of one percent.
“The key for us is to give aspiring and ambitious Emiratis maximum exposure to Abu Dhabi’s tourism and hospitality sectors so then can equip themselves with valuable knowledge, tools and skills needed for the future, whatever their chosen profession, and to create a dynamic talent pool going forward,” added Al Reyami.
Taster Days will be followed-up with a longer, more intensive work placement scheme, ‘Work Experience Week’, running 31st October to 4th November. The extended programme will widen the stakeholder participation pool with Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, Al Ain National Museum, Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Travel & Tourism Agencies Council (ATTAC) also taking part.
Mohammad Al Nuaimi, Director of the Emirates Foundation’s Tawteen Programme said: "Such induction initiatives pave the way for Emiratis to discover career prospects and to identify the potentials of various economic sectors. Our young nationals have proved their merit and competence in many areas, and we believe that it is the right time to increase their contribution to the growing tourism and hospitality industry in Abu Dhabi".
Speaking about her experience, Aziza Musabah, who spent her work placement at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, said getting exposure to the industry is a major help when deciding potential career choices.
“This has been a great experience, it has really opened up my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes at a hotel. For me, it’s about looking at it from a different perspective. I’ll be honest and say that I am seriously considering a career in hospitality now,” said Musabah, a graduate from the Higher Colleges of Technology.
The initiative has also been welcomed by the industry, which believes that exposing Emiratis to a career in tourism early on will have long-term benefits.
“These types of programmes are critical to educating UAE nationals about what tourism and hospitality has to offer. By bringing in interested graduates, we are able to break barriers and dispel misconceptions, which then allows us to engage them with a view of fostering interest for the future,” added Marta Reus, Director - Human Resources, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.