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Absher initiative sees success at Etihad Airways

10 Mar 2013 12:06

Etihad Airways has welcomed more than 260 Emirati nationals to its workforce through the Absher initiative, since its launch in June 2012. 

Absher initiative sees success at Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways has welcomed more than 260 Emirati nationals to its workforce through the Absher initiative, since its launch in June 2012.

The Absher initiative was conceived by the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to support Emiratisation and create new jobs for skilled Emiratis in the UAE labour market. 

To ensure implementation of the Absher initiative is in line with HH the UAE President’s vision, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, monitors developments closely. 

Etihad Airways is renowned as one of the country’s leading employers and has been widely praised for its Emiratisation recruitment strategy. 

The strategy offers Emiratis exciting and world-class training, in addition to highly attractive career prospects, across the global business. Roles are diverse, including graduate managers, cadet pilots, technical engineers, sales managers, guest service agents, contact centre agents and airport operations managers.

As a result, Emiratis now comprise 22.4 per cent of Etihad Airways’ core workforce, with more than 1,250 UAE nationals employed across the airline’s seven divisions.

In line with the  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in June 2012 with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Etihad Airways hopes to recruit an additional 1500 Emirati citizens to its global team over the next five years.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive, said: “As the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, we are committed to employing and empowering Emiratis to play an even greater role in our world-class business.

“Our mandate includes introducing new opportunities in the UAE aviation sector for Emiratis, specifically in Abu Dhabi.  We have made huge strides, been widely praised for our efforts, and are looking forward to supporting ever more UAE nationals across the business.”

In March 2011, Etihad Airways received a distinguished honoree award from the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs. The recognition was awarded for the establishment of the Etihad Airways Call Centre at Al Ain, as a unique innovation and achievement in supporting the economic empowerment and inclusion of UAE women in the community.

Mona Walid, Vice President Talent Acquisition, Etihad Airways, said: “We are proud to take Emiratisation in the work place to new heights. Our innovative training courses and programmes are designed to ensure UAE nationals can take on roles in all aspects of the airline’s operation. 

“The extensive training programs involve a mixture of classroom learning and hands-on experience. Emiratis  spend time in a variety of Etihad departments finding out about all aspects of the airline’s business, including operations, customer service, sales and marketing, reservations, contact centres, pricing and ticketing, network and schedule planning, finance and human resources, ” she said.

More than 35 UAE nationals, who started their careers in one of Etihad Airways’ Emiratisation programs, took up positions at the airline’s offices and airport destinations across the world.

These positions include sales, finance and airport manager roles in Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Switzerland, the US, and the United Kingdom. 

Etihad Airways is also working closely with the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, HCT, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi University, and other organisations to improve its ability to recruit nationals within the airline’s recruitment strategy and programs, which have achieved great success since being launched in 2007. 

The airline recently signed an MOU with with Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research with the aim of hiring our UAE national workforce studying abroad, helping them build their career paths in the aviation industry. 

In recognition of Etihad Airways’ world class Emiratisation programmes that were launched in 2007, the airline was awarded “Best Nationalisation Friendly Initiative” in 2011 at the GCC HR Excellence Awards. In 2012, the airline received the Middle East HR Excellence Awards for ‘Recruitment Programme of the Year’ and ‘HR Initiative of the Year’. 

“Within six years of initiating Emiratisation programmes, Etihad Airways’ success was recognised by prestigious international organisations. These remarkable achievements reflect our commitment to attract, develop and, more importantly retain, our highly qualified UAE nationals.” Ms Walid said.