Etihad Airways, the national airline of the U.A.E., has increased the number of U.A.E. national staff on international work placements by over 130 percent compared to the end of last year, with 142 Emiratis currently in overseas positions across the airline’s global network.
Over the next three months, an additional 33 U.A.E. national employees will be deployed by Etihad Airways in markets across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, bringing the total number of Emiratis on international placements to 175 by the end of 2014.
The positions are being filled by graduates from the airline’s award-winning U.A.E. national development programmes, together with existing employees and new recruits. Some of the U.A.E. nationals will also be placed on assignments with Etihad Airways’ partner airlines worldwide.
Ray Gammell, Chief People and Performance Officer at Etihad Airways, said, "Emiratisation is a key focus area for Etihad Airways. We are extremely proud to offer a dynamic environment for U.A.E. nationals to develop their careers, with exciting roles available in a wide range of different areas, such as human resources, finance, marketing and airport operations.
"Due to our fast-paced growth around the world, an increasing number of these positions are based outside of the U.A.E. and provide a unique opportunity for Emiratis to gain international exposure, broaden their skills and experience, and accelerate their careers upon repatriation.
"These developments are essential for Etihad Airways and support our long-term Emiratisation strategy. U.A.E. nationals are now the number one nationality group at our manager level and we remain on target to significantly increase our Emirati representation year-on-year." More than 2,000 U.A.E. nationals recently applied for roles within Etihad Airways, reinforcing the airline’s position as an employer of choice for Emiratis. To attract U.A.E. nationals and achieve its Absher initiative targets, the airline works closely with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, Higher Colleges of Technology, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi University, and other institutions.
Etihad Airways also operates a two-to-three year Graduate Management Programme to develop U.A.E. nationals into future aviation leaders, with participants offered a combination of classroom education and on-the-job training in the U.A.E. and abroad. Earlier this year, the latest group of 217 graduates from the programme were recognised at a gala ceremony and welcomed to key roles across the airline, such as pilots, managers, contact centre staff and technical engineers.
Amongst the Etihad Airways graduate managers on international work placements is Raya Al Kaabi, who is currently based in Tokyo, Japan. "Etihad Airways’ Graduate Management Programme is a great platform to launch the careers of aspiring leaders," she said. "It has rapidly developed my skills and experience, which I believe would not have been possible in a different job. Also, as an Emirati, I am hopefully transforming into a great asset for our national airline." Iman Al Alawi, a Graduate Manager based in Sydney, said, "Being part of the commercial team in Australia and working with a multicultural team has been character building. I am confident this will be hugely beneficial for my long-term career and success in the airline industry." Etihad Airways recently expanded its U.A.E. national development efforts with the launch of a two-year Graduate Finance Development Programme, which prepares Emirati trainees for a rewarding career in financial accounting and provides them with a professional qualification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the global body for accountants.
Last month, the airline also announced plans to establish a dedicated Revenue Accounting Centre of Excellence in Al Ain, which will create job opportunities for more than 1,000 Emiratis over the next three years and create long-term economic value for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The centre will be a global leader in revenue accounting, offering competitively priced services that will bring cost savings and operational efficiencies to airlines, including Etihad Airways.