More than 2,000 Emiratis joined the UAE's private sector in the first three months of a major government recruitment drive.
The UAE set out plans in September to ensure 10 per cent of the private-sector workforce were citizens in the next five years.
A series of initiatives were launched to increase the number of Emirati private-sector workers by 75,000, by 2026, as part of the Nafis programme.
These included paid training programmes, subsidies for Emiratis working in the private sector and support for local entrepreneurs looking to leave the public sector and start up their own companies.
The Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council was established as part of the ambitious strategy.
On Tuesday, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, chaired the first meeting of the council to review its progress and approve a raft of new programmes.
He highlighted the key role played by the body in supporting the Emiratisation campaign and investing in local talent.
The meeting heard 2,360 Emiratis had been employed by private companies in the first 90 days of the scheme.
The council approved a second package of initiatives, including a training scheme for nurses, a number of training courses to boost the expertise of Emirati graduates in several sectors and a career counselling programme.
More than 330 meetings have been held with representatives of federal and local authorities and private-sector representatives, to identify the private sector's demand for highly-skilled employees, said Ghannam Al Mazrouei, Secretary General of the council.
The meeting was attended by Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education; Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development; Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy; Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation; Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs; Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs; Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences; Jassem Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance, and Ghannam Al Mazrouei, Secretary General of the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, as well as the council’s members.
Private firms embrace strategy
Following the launch of the Nafis programme, retail giant Majid Al Futtaim announced it would hire 3,000 Emiratis.
The company said 3 per cent of the 13,700 people it employs in the UAE are Emiratis, which it intends to boost significantly.
“We have a collective sense of responsibility to support and upskill the talented and ambitious national workforce that exists in the UAE,” said chief executive Alain Bejjani.
There have been commendable efforts over the years to create more opportunities for Emiratis within the public and private sectors.
In October, a private sector engineering company pledged to bring 500 Emiratis into the oil and gas sector in support of the campaign.
AlMansoori Specialised Engineering said it would train promising Emirati graduates to work within the company in areas such as engineering, operations and health and safety.