It is the current generation of UAE graduates that is suffering the most considerable hardship, when it comes to job hunting. This is due to the fact that most entry level jobs ask for a minimum level of experience in the workplace and graduate positions within corporations are often very scarce. Until recently there were no regulations to accommodate work experience for students and minors.

Having a degree is a tremendous asset when it comes to making yourself more employable, but it’s not the only way to stand out to potential employers. Work experience is a vital part of becoming ‘workplace-ready’. It allows students to build on useful skills that cannot be taught in the classroom as well as the exposure to a network of professionals that students otherwise would not be exposed to.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation have now introduced a decree which legalizes the employment of students between the ages of 12-18 for training purposes.

Work experiences will be a critical component of preparing youth for transition to adulthood.Potential benefits for youth who participate in work experiences include:

1) Gaining career readiness skills including the “soft skills” that employers look for in entry level workers;

2) Increasing one’s knowledge of specific occupational skills and workplace settings;

3) Establishing a work history and connections with employers that can aid in future job searches; and

4) Developing an understanding of different occupations in order to make informed career choices.

Important notes from the New Decree for Employment of Minors

  • If you are under 18 years old, you will require written consent from a guardian
  • Students between the ages of 12 -18 years: Can apply for permit for training positions
  • Students between the ages of 15 -18: Can apply for permit for work positions
  • Students of all ages (above 12) will be granted the same benefits as regular employees in the same position

Work experience can take various forms including internships, summer jobs, youth-run businesses/entrepreneurship, service projects and volunteer work, and part-time jobs. While some work experience can lead to permanent, competitive employment, even short-term work experiences can be valuable as a way for young people to develop skills, contacts, and awareness about career options.

What will need to be addressed and circulated is the child labour laws along with the conditions of employment, which will need to highlight what the working restrictions will be. The laws should further list the jobs that children can’t do. Work Experience is a great initiative that has been introduced into the labour laws, if it is regulated correctly.