Sunday, May 19, 2013


I'm not sure how many of you are completely clear on what I do here. I work for the National Airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways and am one of their managers of UAE Talent Development. This means I oversee a couple of development programs designed to give young fresh Emirati university graduates the opportunity to develop their business and aviation skills and upon graduation, be offered an entry level leadership role in the organization.

Our selection process is tough - we aim to be the best airline in the world so we look for the best Emirati graduates that show potential to be our senior leaders of the future. English proficiency, leadership potential and exceptional communication and teamwork skills are what we look for in our interview process. Once selected, we decide which program best suits the candidate and they begin a 12-36 month program, depending on their area of focus. In addition to the programs I run, we offer programs for potential contact center agents, technical engineers and cadet pilots. It's our primary growth strategy for the airline so our Emirati talent is absolutely critical to our success. At present, we have more than 500 trainees across the various programs!

Recently, we organized a graduation ceremony for 237 graduating employees in contact center, cadet pilot, general management and finance. It was quite an event with speeches from the grads, a video put together by our Corporate Communications team, an address from our President and CEO and of course, the traditional presentation of the graduation certificates. Here are a few photos of the event and the last link is a local newspaper article. I have to be a bit careful with the photos as I don't have permission from any of the graduates to use their photos in public.
This is part of my awesome team who spent hours sorting the certificates into the correct order for the ceremony. Remember what I've told you about Emirati names? The sorting process was not an easy one!
 Getting the ballroom prepped for the ceremony. We had a staff roadshow earlier in the day so the chairs and stage were ready to go, but the Visual Communications team had to replace all the roadshow banners and signs with those for the graduation - quite a process.
Cabin crew are the ushers and support for all of our events. Here they are going through their instructions and plan for the ceremony.
And here's the proud group. 237 Emiratis and Omanis from 4 different programs. They are not all pictured here actually for two reasons: 1) some had to stay behind in our contact center for operational reasons, and 2) some of the ladies did not want to be included in any photos.
Part of the video shown during the ceremony.
Our CEO and my fellow Manager, UAE Talent Development who was our MC. Thank goodness I didn't have to try and read those Arabic names as they crossed the stage!!

Graduation Newspaper Article

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