Etihad Airways has announced plans to boost the number of UAE nationals employed in the airline substantially as part of its award winning UAE national development strategy. More than 6,000 Emiratis will be offered jobs that span the spectrum of the airline’s operations over the next five years.

The UAE flag carrier will continue to utilise the strategic collaborations it has formed with a range of UAE government, educational and Emiratisation institutions with the aim of offering Emiratis various opportunities to develop a long and rewarding career in the airline business.

One of Etihad Airways’ major collaborations is its participation in the Absher initiative, Etihad Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in June 2012 to recruit 1,500 Emirati citizens to its global team over the next five years. More than 900 UAE nationals have been recruited since then as part of the initiative.

In 2011, Etihad Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council (ADTC) and since then has worked together to enhance the airline’s recruitment strategy for UAE nationals.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline also signed an MOU with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in 2013 with the aim of sponsoring and hiring UAE nationals studying abroad.

As part of this collaboration, 32 students studying in the United States have been sponsored by Etihad Airways, three of whom have already graduated and joined the airline’s various departments.

To attract even more talented young Emiratis, Etihad Airways recently took part in a recruitment event hosted by the UAE embassy in Washington DC with the aim of screening and selecting a new batch of students who will eventually join the airline’s ranks.

Etihad Airways also has an agreement in place with the Higher Colleges of Technologies and the Al Ain International Aviation Academy offering trainees the chance to obtain a B1 (Engineering License in Airframe and Engines) or B2 (Avionics) license in Aviation Engineering Technology. Once qualified, the trainees will become part of Etihad Airways’ technical team at the airline’s dedicated aircraft line and light maintenance facilities at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The airline also collaborates with Abu Dhabi University to offer a bachelor’s degree in aviation science, the first of its kind in the airline industry for applicants interested in Etihad Airways’ cadet pilot program.

The degree can be completed in about five years, and after graduation, the cadets are required to complete 750 hours of ground training and 205 hours on a small aircraft after which they receive an Air Pilot Transport Licence and graduate to second officers. They then move to the Etihad Academy to complete their simulator training – which can take up to a year. That is followed by 43 flights under the supervision of a training pilot after which they graduate as first officers.

Etihad Airways also continues to work closely with the Higher Colleges of Technology, and other organisations to enhance the effectiveness of its recruitment and development strategy. In 2013 Etihad Airways signed an MoU with the Higher Colleges of Technology for the establishment of the HCT/EY Centre for Education and Professional Development.

The airline’s UAE national development strategy offers Emiratis exciting, world-class training, in addition to highly attractive career prospects across the global business. Roles are diverse, including graduate managers, cadet pilots, technical engineers, sales managers, guest service agents, contact centre agents and airport operations managers.

More than 190 UAE nationals, who started their careers in one of Etihad Airways’ award winning UAE national development programs, have taken up positions at the airline’s offices and airport destinations across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Many of them have also been placed on assignment with Etihad Airways’ partner airlines worldwide.

These global assignments provide a unique opportunity for Emiratis to gain international exposure and include sales, finance and airport manager roles in Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Switzerland, the US and the United Kingdom.

Etihad Airways also recently expanded its UAE national development efforts with the launch of a two-year Graduate Finance Development Program, which prepares Emirati trainees for a rewarding career in financial accounting and provides them with a professional qualification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the global body for accountants.

The airline will launch new specialised programs in government affairs, network planning, properties and logistics to diversify its offering and train UAE nationals in all aspects of the aviation business. A total of 21 different development programs are now being offered as part of the UAE dational development initiatives at Etihad Airways.