Zayed University (ZU) and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) have successfully marked the first year of their partnership, following a Memorandum of Understanding between the two entities to support Emirati youth along their education and early employment journeys.
Within a year, the partnership produced exceptional results with the flagship initiative. ZU student engagement in the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Programme (YTP), an online education and career readiness platform provided by AGFE, recorded a strong response.
The three-year agreement to formalise the partnership between the two entities and integrate YTP – which offers career exploration tools, professional and soft skills courses, and education and career information –targets 6,000 student enrolments by 2023.
Her Excellency Nourabint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, President of Zayed University,said: “The impressive results, achieved in the very first year of our partnership with AGFE highlight the value-add that the private sector can bring to academia, especially in mentoring young Emirati talent for future careers. With academic programmes and extracurricular activities aligned to enhance student skills and prepare them for future jobs, the partnership adds further value in our goal to empower the next generation of talented Emirati professionals.”
H.E Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said: “We entered into our partnership with Zayed University at a critical time, when the higher education sector and job opportunities for young Emiratis were affected by the pandemic. It was important to build strategic collaborations to create ecosystems of success for youth and their communities. Our goal was to create multiple programmes to upskill youth and support faculty, taking into consideration our new reality. We are delighted with the success of the programme in the very first year, and we are on an accelerated course to achieving our ambitious targets. We believe that empowering our youth is vital when it comes to realising the development goals set by our leadership.”
Zayed University & Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education mark first year of successful partnership
In other milestones achieved over the past year, over 400 students completed the me3 career assessment tool, while over 650 Emirati students registered for at least one course offered by the YTP platform. 90% of the registered students engaged with a YTP Success Advisor, gaining valuable university and career-related advice from a specialised professional who deeply understands the needs and dreams of Emirati youth. In addition, over 300 ZU faculty members engaged in training to use and integrate YTP into their teaching approaches.
As part of the partnership, AGFE is also working with ZU’s Student Careers and Alumni Department to implement career readiness and upskilling through virtual internships. These virtual internships aim to enhance the employability of Emiratis, strengthen relevant skills sets, and help students expand their professional network. In addition, AGFE conducted awareness sessions with College Internship Coordinators and interested students. Forty-three student applications were received for internships, with AGFE selecting 12 young Emiratis for the programme.
409 students complete career assessment, 688 students enrol for at least one course of the YTP platform
Rashed Al Shamsi, Department Acting Director, added: “This is a strong model of academic and private sector collaboration to upskill our youth, provide them with informed career guidance, and set the path for rewarding professional careers. With the YTP, Emirati students can gain tremendous exposure to career choices and strengthen their soft skills to transition to their chosen professions seamlessly. The ZU partnership serves as an ideal model to further expand the work of YTP.”
There were over 300 ZU students who voluntarily took additional time to participate in specialised webinars and an intense one-week Graduate Development Programme to become better-equipped graduates with skills required for successful employment. With the goal of promoting the initiative among more students, the YTP Brand Ambassador programme was also rolled out, which attracted 25 Emirati YTP Brand Ambassadors, trained to support outreach efforts and increase students’ enrolment on the platform.
The Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Programme is a bilingual (English and Arabic) and digital platform for university and career readiness, designed to support Emirati and Arab students with employment exposure designed to support Emirati and Arab students with employment exposure and awareness, soft skill development for success, and advising services to support students in their education to employment transitions. The fully online programme is free of charge, has over 37,000 registered users, and helps students and graduates gain the skills that employers are looking for, as well as offer up to date, relevant information pertaining to university life and the job market.