twofour54 says new youth work permit is government encouragement for Emiratis to explore media private sector


21 Jul 2016

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced a new work permit for students aged 12-18 to take up training and work experience opportunities in the private sector.

twofour54 has praised the UAE government’s new youth work permit, saying it will help grow the number of Emiratis working in media by enabling students to engage with the industry’s private sector much earlier on. Last week, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced a new work permit for students aged 12-18 to take up training and work experience opportunities in the private sector.

Commenting on the new youth work permit, Acting CEO of twofour54, Maryam Al Mheiri said: “The media and entertainment sector is recognised as a high potential growth industry under Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification vision. A strong, sustainable private sector is key to this.

“Currently, Emiratis make up less than five percent of private sector employees in the UAE. Increasing the contribution of Emiratis to the private sector of the media and entertainment industry is high on twofour54’s agenda because we know that having local talent coming up through the ranks in the private sector is key to our industry’s future.

“The new work permit will give Emirati students the chance to explore the media industry, try out different media jobs and experience the private sector side of the industry long before they need to make decisions about university courses and career paths. We think this will see more students, with their parents’ support, look to pursue a creative-based career in media,” she added.

Since it began in 2008, twofour54 has invested in developing local talent through initiatives like its creative lab community programme and an internship programme for university students.

“We have helped scores of young Emiratis to test out media careers, but we have primarily focused on the university and graduate level. The introduction of this new work permit for 12-18 year olds will enable us to extend our existing high school outreach programme and do much more to engage students and their parents in the potential of a career in media. We will work closely with our 400-plus campus partners to offer on the job training so young teenagers can get a taste of what is a very rewarding career.

“twofour54 has made great strides forward in building Abu Dhabi’s reputation as the destination of choice for media and entertainment companies wanting to tap into the Middle East market. The industry ecosystem that we have built has attracted the best in the business; not only are we home to one of the biggest news networks in the world, CNN, but we’ve successfully hosted the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the third biggest movie of all time. More than ever, the Abu Dhabi media industry can offer young Emiratis a stimulating, rewarding and viable career.

She added: “This legislation sends a strong message to our nation that the private sector is worthy of our attention, especially as we work together to reduce our reliance on oil and gas. Emirati students and parents should see this as an encouragement from our wise leadership to look beyond traditional industries and traditional government roles and consider the private sector as a career path.”

Emirati Afra Al Marar, who interned with twofour54 while at university and now runs Toaster Productions from the twofour54 campus, echoed Ms Al Mheiri’s support for the new youth work permit.

“I am incredibly proud to be part of the growing private sector in Abu Dhabi, because it means I have the power to create jobs for other people and contribute directly to Abu Dhabi’s economic development. I think giving high school students the opportunity to do work experience with private companies, like the media companies based at twofour54, is a great idea because it will inspire more young people to join the media industry, which is really important for the future of our nation, economically and socially.”

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