Etihad Airways has this weekend welcomed its latest group of Emirati graduates.
A total of 31 UAE national cadet pilots, 10 graduate managers, one engineer graduate and 77 contact centre staff from the UAE, and an additional 11 graduating cadet pilots of other nationalities were recognised in a ceremony at the Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
The graduating cadet pilots, who have completed an 18 month training course, have now joined the airline as second officers.
James Hogan, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “The most valuable asset of any organisation is its people and that’s why staff development is such a big focus for us. We continuously strive to develop our training programs and have invested in state – of – the art educational facilities.”
“As the national airline of the UAE, and as part of our support of the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan, we are committed to training and developing a national workforce of skilled motivated Emiratis, ” Mr Hogan added.
The Etihad cadet pilot program has grown considerably since it was launched in January 2007 and now boasts 106 UAE nationals who are currently training to become fully qualified pilots.
Also, among the graduates was Loulua Abdulla Salem Abdulla Mohamed, Etihad’s second ever female Emirati graduate engineer.
Etihad’s engineering program offers UAE nationals the opportunity to obtain a diploma in Aviation Engineering Technology (Airframe and Aero engines or Avionics). On completion of the program trainees received an approved GCAA higher diploma in Aviation Engineering including on the job training.
In 2009, Etihad announced the creation of an all female UAE national contact centre facility in Al Ain, and a six month contact centre agents training course was designed and delivered in partnership with Abu Dhabi University in Al Ain. The extensive 10 week program consists of core skills, service skills and generic English language skills. This program is further reinforced with close to three weeks of on the job training.
The graduation ceremony also recognised the fourth group of graduate managers, who completed a 21-month training program which included a nine-month workplace orientation in key Etihad departments, followed by a six month placement with a specified team and, finally, a business-based project. They will now be placed in various departments across Etihad’s network, including positions at outstations in Munich, Chicago, London and Melbourne.
Khaled Al Midwahi, one of the graduating managers who is now Sponsorship Manager in Etihad’s Marketing department, said: “The course has helped me develop my leadership and managerial skills and understand Etihad better. Through the rotational program, spending time in Etihad’s nine departments, I was able to get a view of the bigger picture, and finally be able to choose the department that best suits my skills and interests.”
The Etihad Airways Emiratisation Program offers a wide range of training opportunities tailored to attract large numbers of UAE nationals to join Etihad and build their career within the airline industry.
Mohammad Al Banna, Airport Operations Duty Manager at Chicago Airport, said: “This program was just great. We learned a lot and it helped me develop so many skills, both professionally and personally. My education and background is media therefore this program helped introduce me to the airline industry and prepared me to work in a totally different environment. After graduating from university I needed something to make me ready for the real job, and this program was perfect.”
Etihad’s Emiratisation program currently has 228 UAE national trainees deployed across the airline, including 103 cadet pilots, 38 graduate managers and 57 technical engineers.
The total percentage of UAE nationals working for Etihad Airways is currently 14 per cent.