ABU DHABI // Emirati men between 30 and 40 years old will be able to volunteer for military National Service from next week.
National Service and Reserve Authority (NSRA) recruitment centres will accept older applicants from Sunday.
It is mandatory for men between 18 and 30 years old to serve 12 months of National Service, and women in that age group can volunteer.
The male volunteers will complete 15 weeks of training.
Last month, Brig Gen Mohammad Al Neyadi, the NSRA’s director of strategic planning, announced the volunteer scheme.
“The proposal was based on the desire expressed by a number of citizens who are over the age of 30 to join the National Service,” he said.
The NSRA has made provisions for National Service volunteers. They include optional service for women between 18 and 30, provided they have their parents’ consent, and for men and women who have an Emirati mother and a foreign father.
Mubarak Al Qubaisi, a 33-year-old analyst in Abu Dhabi, was in favour of the NSRA’s volunteer scheme.
“It’s optional for women. It’s optional for those with foreign fathers. It should be optional for anyone who can,” he said.
“It’s great that the NSRA is making those accommodations.”
Mr Al Qubaisi said he had always wanted to join the military and this was a great opportunity to do so.
“I’d like to set a good example for my children when the time comes for them to join National Service,” said the father of three.
Maitha Al Shaibani, 30, a civil servant, also voiced her support for the volunteer scheme.
“National Service isn’t only for young Emirati men who are 18 to 30,” she said. “The new proposal is inclusive and reflective of people’s wishes.”