Dubai teens launch website to help school pupils find internships

Two teenagers launched the website after finding it hard to find internships so thought of the idea of bringing employers and young people together.

Satvik Garg, left, and Zohayr Khan, co-founders of Dubai Minds, a service to link students to summer internships in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
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DUBAI // Two high-school pupils have launched a free online service to help teenagers in a number of Dubai schools find internships.

Zohayr Khan, 17, and Satvik Garg, 16, who are both at American School of Dubai, said Dubai Minds aims to provide youngsters with an opportunity to experience real situations and jobs, and that they are partnering with companies in the emirate.

“Some schools already have job shadow programmes, in which a student shadows a professional, but many students have difficulty finding the jobs and end up interning at their fathers’ offices, which is not the real experience,” said Zohayr. “I think our service can work in coordination with the job shadow programmes.

“We do want the job shadow window to remain open, and the internships we want to help provide students with range from one day to two months in summer.”

Dubai Minds is in talks with a number of organisations and schools to set up the internships. Travel agent 24 Degrees is already a confirmed partner, as well as social media company The Online Project and sports company Duplays.

“I usually go to the US and take part in summer programmes there as there are not enough opportunities here, so we’re trying to fill that gap,” said Satvik.

He said the service would involve sifting through the CVs uploaded to their website and provide the companies with possible candidates.

He added that even one-day programmes could be beneficial to youngsters by exposing them to an office culture.

Julia Ulrich, of 24 Degrees, which specialises in tailored experiences in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman, said the company was looking forward to being part of the scheme.

“We are always on the look-out for new, young, dynamic staff, especially in our industry, and prefer having people onboard who were given the chance to work part-time already,” she said.

“We also understand that we cannot only expect students to have work experience. Therefore, in return, we would like to help the talented people gain work experience.”

She said that 24 Degrees, which has 20 staff and a pool of freelancers and local guides, has hired interns in the past and the company had a good experience with them.

“Not only were we given the chance to showcase our passion but we also got an inside view of what interns could do differently. We are in our jobs for years and to have some interns from time to time onboard is refreshing, and also keeps us on our toes,” said Ms Ulrich.

“Of course it is a two-way street. We get the chance to showcase our industry and introduce them to the world of travel, hospitality and events. In return, we also get a helping hand for creating itineraries, research assistance and fresh minds for concepts.”

Ms Ulrich said that 24 Degrees has programmes that range from a two-week internship to six months. The company hires a maximum of two interns during the summer to ensure the youngsters get the most out of their internships.

“Depending on the student’s interest, we cover all areas in our company [HR, Finance, Leisure, Operations]. Every intern programme is tailor-made to the candidate,” she said.

“Jobs can vary – creating proposals, venue research, creating concepts along with senior staff members, site visits of certain venues [or] hotels and some financial tasks.”

Ahmed Nimer, 16, said Dubai Minds was a service he would consider enrolling in due to the convenience of it.

“I was planning on taking an internship in the US but, because of this service, I would have more of a chance of finding something here,” he said.

“I’d rather stay here for a number of reasons, including that this summer will be Ramadan and the US is very far from here.

“Although getting an internship is not a requirement to graduate from high school, it’s important to gain some real-life experience before entering college – it’s not a matter of making money.”

For more information visit the Dubai Minds website.