Emirati teens get on-the-job training in retail sector

Emirati teenagers will be offered three-week placements in supermarkets and retail outlets as part of the Absher Initiative which aims to get UAE nationals working in the private sector.

Hamda Ali Almarzooqi (second from right) was among those who registered for a new programme by Absher, Young Emiratis Start to Work, that offers summer jobs for Emiratis for three weeks. Delores Johnson / The National
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ABU DHABI // Hundreds of Emirati teenagers are being offered summer jobs in supermarkets and other retail outlets.

School pupils aged 16 and 17 will spend three-week placements with employers such as Carrefour, LuLu and Adnoc filling stations in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

The scheme is part of the Absher Initiative, which aims to increase the number of Emiratis working in the private sector. The hope is that it will raise the youngsters’ interest in private-sector employment as they gain experience in sales and customer service.

By the end of the project’s first day yesterday about 100 teenagers had applied. “I read about it in the papers and called at once,” said Hamda Al Marzooqi, 17. “They were very helpful and asked me to come and they would give me the details, and here I am.”

Hamda said she had been waiting a long time for the chance of a summer job. “Today is the first day, and I am here. I am sure when I tell my friends about it, everyone will be excited,” she said.

Mubarak Saeed Al Shamsi, deputy director general of Abu Dhabi’s vocational training centre Actvet, which is running the scheme, said: “The initiative is a chance to give the applicants the opportunity to work in four different areas: retail sales associate; customer relations representative; stocks replenishment associate; and cosmetic consultant in different retail shops that have been very thoughtfully chosen to provide the applicants the full experience of what a real job is, professionally.”

Actvet expects about 300 applications for the pilot scheme and those who apply will have priority to be enrolled in next summer’s full-scale project.

Those selected will have one week’s training followed by on-the-job experience for two weeks.

Their working hours will be 9am to 2.30pm and the project will run from August 14 until September 5.

After the three weeks, they will leave with a qualification approved by the National Qualifications Authority, and a financial reward.

“This will help us have a better plan of what to study and which major to choose later when it’s time for university,” said Hamda.

“It’s a chance to make a plan for the future and get a sense of what is ahead of us. I would know what it takes to be a businesswoman one day.

“I am not at all scared, it’s good we are having the workshops for the first week, but I still feel confident that we’ll do well and will learn a lot.”

Naser Thani A Hameli, an assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, said: “It is a fundamental national initiative under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, that reflects the vision of our leadership in the teaching process, both theoretically and practically, through contributing to the work sector and investing in their summer free time.

“This enforces our children’s learning process and prepares them for the workforce.”

If interested, teenagers apply at www.absher.ae or www.actvet.ac.ae no later than Thursday.

The pupils will then be called to the Actvet office for an interview before starting work.