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24 May 2015 12:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, celebrated a double win at the MENA HR Excellence Awards 2015, after being honoured in the ‘Nationalisation Initiative of the Year’ and ‘HR Professional of the Year’ categories. 

The MENA HR Excellence Awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate excellence in human resource management and development within the Middle East and North Africa.

Etihad Airways received the ‘Nationalisation Initiative of the Year’ award for pioneering one of the UAE’s most successful nationalisation strategies, with a focus on offering dynamic career and development opportunities to Emiratis in the UAE and other markets worldwide.

The airline currently employs more than 2,300 UAE nationals across its global business. Emiratis remain the number one nationality group amongst total employees based in the UAE, and amongst employees at manager level, executive level and within Etihad Airways’ pilot community. Under plans to accelerate its employment of UAE nationals over the next five years, Etihad Airways is expected to recruit more than 6,000 UAE nationals by 2020.

A number of initiatives are underway to create rewarding careers for Emiratis. Last year, Etihad Airways opened a Revenue Accounting Centre of Excellence in Al Ain, which will create job opportunities for over 1,000 UAE nationals by 2017. Etihad Airways has also expanded its broad portfolio of specialist development programs for UAE nationals to include areas such as finance, revenue management, network planning and cargo.

There are now a total of 22 UAE national development programs offered by Etihad Airways for Emiratis to develop key skills and gain practical experience, enabling them to fast track their managerial careers with the airline.

In addition to the ‘Nationalisation Initiative of the Year’ award, Etihad Airways’ Chief People and Performance Officer, Ray Gammell, received the ‘HR Professional of the Year’ award.

Mr Gammell, who joined Etihad Airways six years ago, is responsible for the strategic HR direction of the airline, which has almost 25,000 employees worldwide. He was named ‘HR Professional of the Year’ by the judging panel for embedding a culture of performance, talent, meritocracy and engagement at Etihad Airways; creating world-class benefits for the airline’s staff; and supporting a number of restructuring programs with Etihad Airways’ equity partners.

Mr Gammell said: “Etihad Airways is a people business and we need dedicated, hardworking and passionate employees to maintain our position as the World’s Leading Airline.

“Emiratisation is fundamental to this process and remains the number one priority of the HR division. The fact that we have been presented with the Nationalisation Initiative of the Year award reflects the considerable success of our nationalisation strategy, which is focused on providing Emiratis with world-class career and development opportunities in the UAE and across our global network. It is also a much wider reflection of the collective efforts, hard work and commitment of the entire HR team, which has built a strong culture of performance, and I thank them for their tremendous contribution.”

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