The offices of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority had 27 extra ‘staff’ for the past month as children of employees took part in the Future Managers programme.
The programme gave the youngsters an opportunity to train and work alongside their parents and brothers and sisters at the offices in Academic City. It was designed to give young people a taste of office life, teach them the importance of punctuality, and show them what their family members do ‘at the office’ each day.
They worked in departments across KHDA – Customer Service, Marketing and Communications, Human Resources, IT and the Administrative Support Unit for the Dubai Schools Agency.
Mohammed Khalid Omar, the youngest taking part, studies at Mohammed Al Fateh School in Sharjah. The enthusiastic 10-year-old worked in the Customer Service department.
He said, “Working at KHDA was fun. Initially I thought it would be boring to be at an office but I realised every day is different and it isn’t so dull. I got to meet people from different nationalities, and it gave me a sense of responsibility and learning. Earlier summer time was just for idling but now I am hoping to come back again during my holidays so that I can do my best and enjoy myself, too.”
His mother, Ahlam Rabee Al-Budoor, is a customer relations specialist. She said, “All three of my children have been working at KHDA as part of the Future Managers programme. Over the last three weeks they have developed a deeper understanding of my work place.
“They now understand the value of time and the expectations a team has from individual members. There has definitely been a change for the better. I appreciate this initiative and hope it is developed further in the future.”
Iman Ibrahim, who worked with the Marketing and Communications department, was encouraged to join the programme by her sister, Fatma Belrehif, who is Head of Strategic Projects at KHDA.
Iman was nervous at first but soon blended into her summer work place. The softly spoken grade 11 student from Sukainah High School said, “It was my first experience on a summer programme, I felt I would be out of place without my classmates but everyone was very helpful and kind. I made many new friends and have picked up the essentials of professional life. I now have a better idea of the way work flows in an office.”
Her sister, Fatma who won the Distinguished Administrative Employee award at the Dubai Government Excellence Programme this year, said, “The Future Managers programme is a brilliant idea that gives young people exposure to the real work environment.
“I was keen to enrol Iman in this activity so that she can extend some of her skills and explore others. It gave her a taste of professional realities that are quite interesting. As an individual she is quite resourceful and enthusiastic, I wanted her to be able to develop her skills further.”
Mohammed Badaruddin is a Computer Engineering student at Al Ghurair University; he largely worked with the Customer Service department and occasionally helped the staff of the Dubai Schools Agency. This was not the first summer work experience for Mohammed - he worked night shifts at Modhesh Fun City last year.
He compared the experiences and said, “They are an absolute contrast – while one place is full of rides and fun games, the other is focused and disciplined. Every work opportunity has a level of responsibility and returns I enjoyed at both my summer jobs. At KHDA the approach was organised and I have learned much more. More so because I have my mother and sister working here too and it gives me a wider perspective of the work scene.”
His mother, Mona El Monairy, Sports Specialist at the Princess Haya Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Education and School Sports with Dubai Schools Agency, said, “The siblings now show a deeper respect for each other, I am proud of the way they care for their responsibilities and punctuality. If it were not for this programme they would probably be wasting time in front of the television or on the Internet. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
During the month-long programme the children undertook various responsibilities. They created presentations to describe their progress and they also visited other government bodies such as Dubai Prosecution Courts and Dubai Municipality for an exchange of ideas with other colleagues and interns.
Taha Al Hamri, Head of the Administrative Services Unit (ASU), assessed the group during their weekly update meetings.
The Future Managers were honoured at an end-of-programme ceremony today (July 9). Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General at KHDA, Fatma Al Marri, CEO, Dubai Schools Agency, and Taha Al Hamri attended the ceremony along with family members and other KHDA staff.
Ms Al Marri said: “We think this is a good opportunity for young people to see what we do. It was really nice to hear that they had enjoyed working with members of their family, and we hope they will have respect for the important work they are doing. Of course, it was very nice for KHDA to have 27 young people in the office for a month as well.”
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