From student recruitment and potential career paths to finding the perfect placement, outreach programmes are helping students head in the right direction. And, as outreach programmes burgeon across the world, education providers in the UAE are fully aware of their benefits.
GEMS Education is set to launch the Corporate Connect next month in the UAE to give secondary students the opportunity to gain placements in work study, internships and community service projects with over 900 corporate partners. “These programmes are beneficial to students who, as Teen agers, need to discover what they like and don’t like — as they progress to university studies outside of high school,” says Kierstan Connors, Associate Director, GEMS College Counselling Worldwide. “If they want a targeted, focused career, like medicine or engineering, their coursework in high school and core supplemental activities must help them explore this goal, so that they may enter university with the correct tools to succeed in majoring in their academic studies and then progressing to their career.”
While internships and working in the community can help narrow down a career choice, outreach programmes can also help in student recruitment for the qualifications necessary for that dream career. As more school fairs and events are regularly being held, it provides the perfect platform for students and educational providers to discover each other. “Different universities have different ways of attracting potential students. School career fairs, events, school competitions and fairs like Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX) and NAJAH serve as our outreach platforms to promote the universities,” says Ttina Narsian, Undergraduate Student Recruitment Manager, Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus. “We hold competitions, workshops and attend almost 150 career fairs in an academic year to promote the university.” Although Narsian says that their social media and online presence helps them effectively promote their offerings, once ensconced into an educational institute, outreach programmes mean that students can begin to project themselves towards their carefully chosen career path. “Our Career Management Team ensures maintaining relationships with existing companies and newer ones to make sure to have them on board when it’s time for industry projects, internships or placements,” points out Sami Albaroudi, Head of Admission at The Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Dubai, adding, “We also organise a career fair once a year.
We prepare our students in soft skills such as presentations, interviews — we hold sessions such as, CV writing, presentation skills, and mock interviews. This happens throughout the year so students are well prepared. Our campus placements of 2016 passing out batch had a high of 75 per cent this year.” Universities might be keen to develop their outreach programmes, but it can only be done with the help of local companies. Fortunately, companies such as Cisco are open to empower future generations. In fact, the technology giant has successfully organised a university outreach programme in the UAE to prepare and inspire the future generation. Moreover, their outreach programme, according to Cisco, is fully inclusive and gives particular attention to students located in the more remote areas of the UAE.
Thanks to such outreach programmes in the region, and the support of dynamic companies and institutes, students are now being given a head start and thus on their way to employment — even before graduation. All Universities in the UAE are focusing on helping their students explore various career opportunities. “Dedicated Career Services or Placement Divisions of universities put in efforts to provide internship and job opportunities for students throughout the academic year,” says Abdul Razzak, Placement Manager — Placement Division at BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus.
“Career counselling, training and job placements are the three key services that we provide to our students at BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus,” says Razzak. “We organise campus placement programmes for the graduates every year and invite local and international companies to recruit the graduating students.”