Article in brief: the job market in the UAE is very competitive; hence, an experienced individual is required at all levels.
It’s very common for teenagers in developed nations to have a job while they are studying, whether they were high school students, undergraduates, or even postgraduate students. A work placement gives the individual an insight of the working environment and helps sharpen some basic interpersonal skills. With the competitive working environment we live in today, I believe work experience is vital for every individual. I noticed that regardless of what degree you might hold, the first thing an employer will look at is your work experience, and if you have none, then the chances for you getting employed are lower than an individual with the same degree plus some work experience.
As a graduate from the American University of Sharjah, it was compulsory for me to obtain an internship during my last year in order for me to graduate. An internship exposed me to real life working environment, taught me how to apply what I studied, and be able to understand the work situation. Also, an internship provided me a chance to network freely with managers and supervisors who were willing to provide me with further support, such as a long-term job or even a referral.
I believe nowadays most young Emiratis find it hard to work and study at the same time, while others prefer it in order to gain experience, or to earn some extra pocket money. The bigger disappointment is that others rely heavily on their “daddy’s” wealth and live a life of luxury rather than work. As a result of not having compulsory work experience at universities, young Emiratis find it hard to choose their academic degree and harder to choose the place they desire to work in. Thus, I suggest all universities in the UAE to encourage students to apply for an internship to help bridge the gap between university life and work life. Work placements can offer the perfect opportunity to gain reasonable experience whilst still studying. Work experience will also shed light on certain skills such as team work, time management, leadership skills, communications skills and so on that can actually benefit the individual in the long run. Work will also boost one’s self-esteem, self-growth, and independence level.
In fact, work placement will reduce the waiting duration to find a job after graduating. The market is hungry for mature experienced Emiratis so why not establish a strong force of skilled Emiratis at an early phase. The work experience gap delays acquiring certain skills and experiences in a fast-moving economy. Consequently, unemployment rises and it is harder to employ those individuals as time goes by.
Therefore, in order to avoid the work experience gap, I believe work experience should be compulsory to all university students in the UAE from year 1 until they graduate. The student can choose whatever field he/she desires whether fashion, medical, business or academia with approval from the university and work place applied to. The encouragement of students working will generate higher chances for them to understand the work environment, and perhaps find out what they are passionate about. In a nutshell, work placements are a great opportunity for youngsters in this emerging economy, and it will help bring theory to life and crystallise their job aspirations.
Mozah Al Samahi (@_mozah)
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