UAE new visa rules: Graduate programme launched as student enrolment gains momentum

A novel Graduate Programme Academy has been set up to nurture next generation of industry talent


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 30 May 2022, 9:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Jun 2022, 11:38 AM

With the announcement of new visa rules, UAE universities have seen a boom in new student enrolments for the upcoming academic year. This has prompted the launch of a new Graduate Programme offering financial planning degree in Dubai.

A novel Graduate Programme Academy has been set up to nurture the next generation of industry talent by preparing financial planners through a two-year programme of training, mentoring and accredited learning.

According to the programme head, this was done in anticipation of a likely increase in student enrolments in UAE with the immigration of more youth and families.

The initiative started with a cohort of eight recent graduates from UK universities.

Sophia Bhatti, Director of Learning Development at Hoxton Capital Management, explained that participants would also have the opportunity to work closely with senior advisors at the firm.

Bhatti says, "With the new visa regulations being implemented this year, we anticipate a fresh influx of expatriates coming to live and work in the UAE. This programme aims to help meet the demand for skilled financial planning professionals that we expect to emerge as the country's expat population grows."

Spearheading this initiative to prepare young people looking to jump-start their careers in the UAE, Bhatti explained: "The financial planning sector needs a constant supply of qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced professionals to deliver the best advice to clients, with transparency and integrity.

"This programme combines our commitment to the highest standards of industry practice with our passion for developing the next generation of talent in the finance profession."

Successful candidates will graduate from the programme with two-level four industry-recognised accreditations in financial planning.

Sharing his motivation to apply for the programme, 21-year-old first class financial economics graduate Ali Hassan, said, "My main objective was to develop the skills I had attained at university into a working environment. With the resources to achieve further financial qualifications and the direct support on how to interact with clients professionally, this is the perfect opportunity to kickstart my career in the financial world."

He added, "My personal goal is to become Level 6 Chartered as a financial advisor, and then explore the Series 65 qualification that would allow me to advise clients in the United States, all whilst building up the clients under my management. With multiple new offices opening up all around the world, there is a sense of flexibility."

The trainees are to benefit from a broad range of learning resources to develop their technical and consulting skills in a professional and client-facing environment.

With a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, fellow graduate trainee, 24-year-old Connor Hardcastle says, "When I was around 17 years old, one of my ambitions was to be a financial advisor, but I didn't follow that path initially. After studying Chemistry, I realised I still wanted to have an entry point into financial services, and I enjoy the idea of being fast-tracked to the financial advisor role, so I was ready to take the leap."

He adds, "After coming from a non-finance background to be able to have an in-depth conversation about financial products with a family who has been in the industry for 30 years, I've learnt a great deal about the industry already.

"The programme also focuses on the business development manager role, which we undertake daily to ensure that we have meaningful and sustainable conversations with clients that will help me develop into a successful financial advisor once I take that step up."


University expansion plans

The introduction of Golden Visas has created a favourable wind for the UAE's academic community, despite ongoing global challenges. Some top universities in Dubai announced their expansion plans in the past couple of years.

The University of Birmingham, which opened in April 2022, spans an area of 30,000 square metres. The University's new campus in Dubai International Academic City offers 46 academic programmes.

Heriot-Watt University Dubai has opened doors to a brand-new campus at Dubai Knowledge Park in 2021. The dedicated campus can serve nearly 4,000 students – representing 105 nationalities worldwide.

The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) opened the doors of its 200,000 sq ft Campus of the Future in Dubai Knowledge Park in August 2020. The UOWD also generated the highest admissions intake in seven years in 2020.

Australia's Murdoch University also inaugurated a 27,000 sq ft campus in May 2020 in Dubai Knowledge Park, twice the size of its former premises in Dubai International Academic City.

Dubai schools

Around 289,019 pupils study in the emirate's 215 private schools.

Student numbers at Dubai's private schools have increased by 10,000 this academic year.

Ten new private schools opened in the 2021-2022 academic year.

More than 25 new private schools opened over the past four years.

Within the next 20 years, the Dubai government aims to boost the population from 3.3 million in 2020 to 5.8 million.

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