Universities work to bridge gap between graduates and job market

Institutions taking part at Abu Dhabi Tawdheef job fair say that equipping students with the necessary skills is a priority

Abu Dhabi: Universities taking part at the Tawdheef job fair in Abu Dhabi say they are working on several different initiatives to ensure their students and graduates are well equipped with the skills the private sector are looking for, including internships and partnerships with both the government and private sectors.

The three-day fair has attracted thousands of Emiratis who have submitted their CVs to a host of both private and public entities, with the job fair providing a great opportunity for direct contact between Emirati jobseekers and the companies who are looking to hire.

“Having our graduates ready and equipped with the relevant needs of the job market is something that we are heavily focusing on,” said Abdullah Al Hosani, associate director, Communications Department at Higher Colleges of Technology, who acknowledged the need to bridge the gap between the needs of the job market and the skills of graduates.

“Last year, we launched a new strategy as part of that vision, under this new initiative we will be providing our students with two certificates — an academic and professional certificate — which will enable and help our students to be ready for the industry and to also become the number one choice for the market.

“Having these two certificates gives our students an advantage because they will have both the academic and practical qualifications, and this will make the process of them finding a job easier,” he added.

Al Hosani said the university is also cooperating with all sectors in the job market, listening to their needs and incorporating that into their courses.

“We are building several long-term partnerships with both the private and government sectors, there are regular meetings between us and we have formed a committee to discuss how we can help with providing the job market with what it needs.

“Once we get the feedback, we prepare our students accordingly, and once they graduate, they have exactly what the industry is looking for and they can get hired,” he added.

Al Hosani explained that the partnerships also include representatives from the private industry coming to the university to present seminars and workshops for the students.

“Rather than having a workplace experience carried out at a specific industry, we get someone who is working in the industry to come to our campus and give seminars, workshops, and training for our students.”

Rami Kayed, student recruitment manager at Al Ain University of Science and Technology, said the university puts a focus on majors that the job market are directly looking for, ensuring graduates are ready to join the industry as soon as they graduate.

“We do focus on courses and subjects that the industry is looking for; our main goal is to answer to the needs of the market. Innovation has become a key policy for the UAE and so we adjust our majors to fit in with that vision, providing courses that offer innovative ideas and projects.

“We also have strong partnerships with government, semi-government, and private organisations, through which we offer our students the chance to go and intern at these institutes giving them a first-hand experience of what it is like to work at these organisations,” he added.

Keyad said that such partnerships between the industry and the academic sector was important and would help yield positive results for the country.

“We get a lot of good inputs from the industry; they tell us what they need and what skills they are looking for from our students, and then we put that feedback into real policies that can make a change.”

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