Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, has attended a panel discussion organised by Education for Employment (EFE) held under the heading The Future of Arab Youth Employment, Why some of the region's top businesses see opportunity amid the challenge. Its purpose was to highlight opportunities and initiatives geared towards getting young Arab men and women into employment and to offer networking opportunities to organisations associated with this aim.
Sheikh Nahyan quoted Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who said, "We believe that our youth are the backbone of the nation and the foundation on which to develop this noble civilisation."
Sheikh Nahyan added, "In many ways the valuable work of EFE is even more important today since we live in a world that is characterised by rapid technological change, where jobs that existed ten years ago are no longer available and new jobs with new skill sets are emerging at an increasingly rapid pace. It is important that our young people be empowered to become life-long learners and are able to embrace new opportunities in the knowledge economy."
Ron Bruder, Founder and Chair of EFE said in his opening remarks, "Education For Employment (EFE) was established with a simple idea: market-driven training linked to real job opportunities can transform the lives of unemployed youth and their families, and help businesses to succeed. From placing thousands of youth in jobs, we know that the impact extends far beyond improving individual lives and strengthening companies: when young people have the opportunity and dignity of employment, they contribute to their societies and economies in dynamic, positive ways."
Bruder welcomed the distinguished guests who included Ameera BinKaram, Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women's Council (SBWC) and board member of EFE, who took part in a panel discussion moderated by Fred Sicre, Managing Director, The Abraaj Group with Karim Seifeddine, Head of Public Affairs and Government Relations, MENAP, Citi; Samer Khoury, President, Engineering & Construction, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), and Dalel Samti, EFE Alumna and Civil Engineer.
With the presence and first remarks from EFE board member Raza Jafar CEO, ENSHAA PSC, and attracted guests such as EFE board members Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises; Najla Al Midfa, an SBWC and EFE board member; Waleed Al Banawi, Founder & Chairman at JISR Partners; and Aziz Al-Yaquot, Senior Partner at Meysan Partners.
BinKaram pointed out that SBWC and EFE are exploring a collaboration to promote entrepreneurship by empowering young entrepreneurs in Diba Al Hisn to launch their businesses that will help in advancing SBWC's vision to create SMEs across Eastern Sharjah in the next several years. The programme includes training modules and topics, coaching and mentoring support.
BinKaram said, "Arab youth are our future, our hope and have much to offer the region and indeed the wider world. The problem of youth unemployment cannot be ignored and must be kept at the top of the agenda to ensure all young people get the opportunity to contribute to their communities and society in general. When women are in employment they can transform families, communities, and economies, but young women need the right skills and pathways in to the workforce."
BinKaram pointed out that online recruitment platforms and social media have made talent sourcing much more accessible, user friendly, convenient, and called for recruiting agencies to recruit through online platforms. During the panel discussion Ameera highlighted the programmes and initiatives led by SBWC including Edarati, a two-year paid internship programme for graduates, to prepare them to lead upcoming SBWC projects. At the end of the of two-year period all graduates will have developed finance, management and business competencies.
BinKaram also highlighted other effective mentorship initiatives set up by Emiratis including Khayarati an initiative by SBWC board member, Najla Al Midfa. This is an online career development platform for young Emirati students another is Global Youth Empowerment (GYEM) set up by Chairman and Co-Founder of GYEM, Ruba Al Hassan that targets high school students in the UAE.
Binkaram said the UAE is fortunate to have rulers who are committed to addressing the needs of women and added, "When it comes to attracting talent we need to listen to the needs of working women in order to achieve gender parity in the workplace and get more female board members and parliamentary leaders. University graduates will be looking for jobs that adopt female friendly policies, otherwise these graduates will either opt out of working or choose the public sector as it is now more receptive to accommodating the needs of working women."
EFE works directly with employers to provide youth in MENA with the skills they need for employment or entrepreneurship by creating tailored training programmes that lead to job opportunities or start-up support. EFE also works with governments and public educational institutions to promote "pathways to a job" employability training and inspire systems-level change.
Jamie McAuliffe, President and CEO, EFE–Global said, "Employment and economic opportunity empower youth to support their families, contribute to their communities, and gain a stake in the future of a stable society. Businesses benefit from investing in youth employment through EFE. In the short term companies secure the talent they need to grow. In the long term, investing in youth employment drives economic growth and increases regional stability. A key focus for us in 2015 is creating and disseminating knowledge on transitioning first-time women job seekers into employment."
EFE is the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region's leading network of youth employment non-profits according to McAuliffe who says that EFE has brought together nearly 2,000 partners to create job opportunities for youth across the region. He added that far from worrying headlines of a youth unemployment crisis in the MENA region, youth unemployment is an untapped resource offering up an opportunity to transform economies and communities in positive ways.