Encouraging Emirati talent to grow in the leisure and entertainment sector
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Encouraging Emirati talent to grow in the leisure and entertainment sector

Encouraging Emirati talent to grow in the leisure and entertainment sector

Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral tells us about training Emirati talent in the leisure and entertainment sector of the region

Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi - CEO of Miral

The Leisure and Entertainment sector is thriving in the MENA region. Could you tell us more about its evolution?
The global recreation market is steadily recovering and returning to the predicted 14 per cent CAGR. Our region is witnessing tremendous growth, with billions being invested in new or updated entertainment and leisure destinations. In the UAE, we are in an optimal place for action, able and willing to expand on decades of established excellence. Here in Abu Dhabi, revolutionary new initiatives including SeaWorld Abu Dhabi and the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi ensure we are on course to delivering on the emirate’s goal to draw more tourists every year.

In addition to the growing need for such options within the MENA region, we’re witnessing a global surge, as more and more people want to travel and splurge on experiences after years of travel restrictions. Taken all together, there is tremendous potential within our industry. What’s less well articulated is how and why we can better staff the industry. It takes people, after all, to fully realise the potential of an idea, an emergent sector, or even a nation.

Could you take us through Miral’s journey in training and recruiting Emiratis to be a part of UAE’s theme park industry?
Our leaders and their initiatives including the ‘Projects of the 50’ have reminded us, if we want to build a more resilient and globally competitive nation, we must develop competencies in every sector. At Miral, we have multiple pathways, including our two-year Maharaty talent development programme, and the three-month Ambassador training programme, to ensure that more and more Emiratis are not just welcomed but equipped to lead in this sector.

The three-month Ambassador training programme, which was launched in 2017 focuses on providing participants with hands-on training at Miral’s theme parks, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. Here they can be equipped with the required skills and knowledge to excel in the leisure and entertainment sector.

To date, the programme reached a milestone by recruiting 500 Emiratis into it, 150 of whom have reached managerial positions across Yas Island’s various attractions. They not only play a crucial role in shaping their careers, but they also promote a culture of learning and sharing of good practices, in addition to enabling continuous improvement in their communication skills, social relations and mutual culture.

What is the vision behind Miral’s talent development programme?
In a fast-changing and increasingly competitive world, finding a workplace that shares your values can be difficult. Flexible working frameworks, ethical policies and facilities are crucial. So, our vision is for the local talent to find a workplace that matches their cultural priorities and in turn contribute to the nation’s development.

Through our Ambassador and Maharaty programmes alone, hundreds of young Emiratis have learned about all aspects of our operations and management, and are now making a difference wherever they are. The knowledge and experience they have accumulated will benefit our nation and reinforce its hospitality culture. Additionally, we want to equip the local talent for a futuristic technological world which includes enhanced knowledge about VR, AR, AI and machine learning.

Read: Majid Al Futtaim to hire 3,000 Emiratis to support UAE government’s Nafis programme

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