Nationals keen to join hospitality sector jobs

DUBAI — It was a proud moment for 34-year-old UAE national Zainab Abdulla Haider Kafan who passed the nine-week Hospitality Maharat Training Programme yesterday. The mother of four children was among the 49 local students who underwent rigorous training conducted at the Emirates Academy, for initiation into the hospitality industry.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 20 Sep 2007, 8:55 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:12 AM

The 19 women and 30 male UAE nationals, who are job seekers, have different educational backgrounds.

Zainab has been hired by the Park Hyatt, Dubai, as a security officer, thanks to the nine-week programme. A divorcee, she has been living in a rented apartment in Dubai with her children for the past few years. “Now my children have grown up and I felt I needed some action in my life. I also wanted to provide a better life to my family,” says Zainab proudly. She has never worked before and this is her first job.

While Zainab’s eldest daughter is studying in college, her three sons are in school. “My kids have been extremely supportive of my decision to work and are happy that I have found a job. Once I start working, I’ll apply for a driving license and buy a car when I get the licence,” she says excitedly, adding that she cannot wait to start work.

Hashim Ibrahim Murad, 19, from Dubai is equally excited about working with the hospitality industry. “I am a high school student and the functioning of a hotel excites me. It offers a lot of exposure and opportunities to interact with people from different backgrounds. The chance to be professionally successful is also very high,” says the student, who has been selected to work in the front office, resort relations of the Oasis Beach.

In 2005, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) Emiratisation Task Force for Tourism, Tanmia, the National Human Resource Development & Employment Authority in the UAE, and professionals from the hospitality industry launched the Hospitality Maharat Training Programme for UAE national job seekers. Since then, eight programmes, including this one, have been conducted by DTCM, the Emirates Academy and the Emirates Nationals Development Programme.

A total of 18 hotel companies, including Accor, The Hyatt, Rotana, The Hilton, Kempinski, Dusit, Le Meridien, The Sheraton, Shangri-la Hotels, and Taj Palace have absorbed these students. The students spent nearly four weeks at different hotels, as part of their course, to get a hands-on training in different departments.

Ophelia Gokoyan, a lecturer from The Emirates Academy, observes: “The number of UAE nationals wanting to work in the hospitality sector has seen a dramatic increase over the years, with programmes like Maharat and the growth of tourist industry. Perceptions have changed with nationals working in the sector and the awareness about the kind of jobs available has increased tremendously.”

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