UAE jobs: How students of determination are being hired by companies in the Emirates

Several local companies express desire to train and absorb them



by

Lamya Tawfik

Published: Thu 19 Jan 2023, 7:01 PM

Last updated: Thu 19 Jan 2023, 7:13 PM

Yazan Basel, a person of determination, has just completed an international vocational certificate and is studying for another one, but he is already excited about exploring the job market.

Yazan was one of over 30 students of determination who attended the 1st employment fair for people of disabilities to be organised by the Masarat Center for Development and Empowerment of the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. The fair, which saw 13 entities accepting the resumes of eager applicants, was held under the patronage of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

“I met a few companies here and they asked me questions about what I like to do and where I live. I’m still studying but I hope I get a job. I love to organise things,” said Yazan.

His friend Seoud Mohammed said that he studied self-development with Masarat and is now doing vocational studies. “I love to organise files and use the computer. The companies I met, asked me if I wanted to work and I said I did because I love dealing with people and helping them,” he said.

Mohammad Amin Al Awadi, Director General of SCCI said that they encourage companies to support people of determination because they are an important segment of society. “Exhibitions like these work alongside the country's efforts to support people of determination. We are pleased with the companies who are participating with the positions they have and for expressing a true desire to hire them,” he said.

Masarat enables people of determination to be independent, according to Dr. Hanadi Al Suwaidi, Director or Sharjah Center for Learning Difficulties and Masarat Center for Development and Empowerment. “We are here bringing them closer to organisations and it’s an opportunity for these companies to see how people of determination can be creative and hardworking. Most companies here are providing true positions and they are interviewing students,” she said.

Ayesha Abdullah Abdul Rahim, Head of employment division in Masarat said that they got in touch with 44 entities for the fair and that 13 of them participated with existing positions. “Our role is to enhance their capabilities and skills through academic programmes and training programmes which allow them to enter the workforce. We want them to have their place in society,” said adding that many participating companies are already conducting interviews.

She said that the centre offers continuous education through vocational training as well employment support by helping job seekers and training companies deal with employees of determination.

Aya Awad, HR Officer from Rafid , who was present at the fair said that they already had three positions available – a data entry/clerk position, customer service/call center agent and a receptionist. “We saw different candidates and we have already shortlisted a few of them. They are very keen, one of them said that she is happy to come from Kalba every day,” she said.

For many companies, working with people of determination is part of their corporate DNA and strategy. Samar Elmnhrawy, SVP Human Capital and Sustainability, Majid Al Futtaim Retail said that diversifying the portfolio of their workforce is important for the organisation from a sustainability perspective. “This includes, but is not limited to people of determination. We are increasing women in the company. We have targets to achieve certain percentages year on year to contribute to communities. It’s part of our diversity strategy and sits nicely with our sustainability portfolio,” she said.

One of the partnerships they have is with Desert Group. They hire people of determination, train them and then place them with their products – free of charge – in various Carrefour branches. “We don’t take rent and you will see the plants are all prepared by people of determination. All the reviews of the plants are given to them,” said Samar.

The Desert Group programme is called Enable. Speaking to Khaleej Times, Rami Hassan, manager of Enable said that the community initiative started in 2006 with the hiring of 25 employees from people of determination. Working directly in agriculture was key to making them feel relaxed. He said that they eventually took part in 2008 in a nationwide campaign to plant 3,600 trees in schools and government buildings. “The message was that they can work and be productive if they are integrated into society,” he said, adding that over the years, many of them went on to assume positions in government entities.

One of the people of determination working with them is Rashid Obeid who enjoys working with plants. “In the beginning, it was a bit difficult, but it became easier. Today, if someone gives me an order of 20,000 plants I can do it really fast,” he said, adding that he can also teach people.

“If they’re scared, they can come to me, I’ll teach them,” he said confidently.

Amer al Shamsi, responsible for Emiratisation and Recruitment at the Dubai Municipality said that they are at the fair to speak to candidates and to collect their CVs. “We will then classify them based on disability and after that, we will decide on the jobs that suit each category,” he said stressing that they have many employees of determination at Dubai Municipality and that they are some of the best-performing employees.

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