United Arab Emirates UniversityHelping students to become job-ready

Helping students to become job-ready

UAEU has a dedicated Career Readiness Unit to prepare students for success in their chosen field. A blend of online and in-person support and a focus on hands-on experience is available from the very start of the student journey

The pandemic did not put a stop to employability support for students at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). In 2021, it ran its first virtual careers fair, attracting more than 50 partners offering information on job opportunities, workshops and the chance to gain a certification.

The Career Readiness Unit at UAEU is planning its upcoming projects up to 2025, according to Shamma Alkaabi, placement and internship specialist at the university. The unit supports students throughout their career cycle, from the time they join as an undergraduate to their early years as an alumnus navigating the world of work.

“We help them choose the right major based on job market demand, their capabilities, what they would like to study,” Alkaabi explains. “We also support students to find internships both in the UAE and outside, as well as opportunities for postgraduate programmes.”

The university works with major employers including manufacturing company Strata and Emirates Global Aluminium to offer students workshops to prepare them to join the jobs market. Engineers and technicians have delivered talks at the unit on their own career success stories, as well as mentoring students who have interests in a particular field.

UAEU also boasts close ties to government departments such as the Ministry of Education and the Dubai Government Human Resources Department. The job navigator portal allows students to browse hundreds of opportunities available with these partners.

Pre-placement workshops prepare students to adjust to the world of work, giving them training in areas such as CV writing, interview skills and work ethics. In addition, the unit helps students acquire the digital skills and certifications that will make them stand out as candidates, as well as giving them the opportunity to develop crucial soft skills. “These are extension courses to their major, such as a political science student gaining a certificate in [data analytics platform SPSS,” says Alkaabi. 

Internships are a core part of ensuring that students are work-ready when they graduate. UAEU’s Meydan Online System automates the process of finding an internship, acting as a hub where employers can post opportunities and students can apply. There is also an outstanding interns award, launched in 2010, designed to recognise and reward students who demonstrate academic excellence and practical performance during an internship. Students receive an outstanding intern certificate that they can add to their CV portfolio when applying for roles. 

UAEU sees the support it offers students to start a flourishing career as having an important social role. The employers it works with are considered co-educators. Many alumni have acquired key roles in the private sector or started their own businesses, while one student set up a small chain of coffee shops during the pandemic, all with support from the university.

One forthcoming project will create a youth hub at the university in collaboration with the UAE’s Federal Youth Authority, and there are plans to set up alumni panels to discuss their career pathways. “This is not just about the job you do in the future but the future of that job,” says Alkaabi.

Find out more about the Career Readiness Unit.

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