Looking back, I had limited knowledge on what kind of careers ahead. I chose to become an architect but failed to get a place in a New Zealand university due to quota system and was given a computer science course instead.
No regrets and it has been a decade that I left IT world into more challenging roles in property development.
My two elder sons have made their minds up on what they want to be. The eldest to be in aerospace world and the second one in medicine to follow his mum's footsteps as a medical doctor.
Meanwhile..the youngest one (photo below) is still blurred...
If we could do it all over again, what kind of career would you be interested?
I would go for a full-time travel writer...
As children, we all had different ambitions.
Many of us said we would become doctors or solicitors, but there were the imaginative few who dreamt of becoming television presenters, stuntmen and sports stars. And while being lucky enough to follow David Beckham’s footsteps or land the role as Vin Diesel’s body double wouldn’t have been easy, most of us had adequate opportunity to get a job in the industry we favoured.
But the latest research has shown that, nowadays, school leavers in the UAE are struggling to get the jobs they want.
Research by the Middle East Youth Initiative, a joint project by the US-based Wolfesohn Centre for Development and the Dubai School of Government, has revealed that 25 per cent of 15-24-year-olds in the UAE are currently unemployed, compared with a global average of 14 per cent.
Lucy Clarke, who is the director of NAJAH - the UAE’s education, training and careers exhibition - says the credit crunch has had a huge impact on the jobs market here. She explains this impact, in turn, affects the options open to those who want to go into a certain field of work or study for a degree.
“The global economic crisis has resulted in massive job losses across the region and made it much more difficult for new job seekers to follow their chosen career paths,” says Lucy.
“For many, the best option may be to look towards different career opportunities and develop additional skills.”
Feddah Lootah, Acting General Manager of Tanmia, the national human resource and development authority says school leavers need to be savvy in what they go on to study.
She advises those seeking further education to opt for degrees in areas such as engineering and finance which may be less popular but can offer them more employment opportunities upon graduation.
Lucy adds: “What we are suggesting is that school leavers carefully consider all their options before choosing their degree. “Not only do they need to look at their skills and interests, but also examine which industries will offer them the best opportunities in employment and career progression.
“No one knows quite how the credit crunch is going to play out, but engineering and finance courses are not as popular as communication and the arts. As a result, there may be more opportunities for graduates in engineering and finance because there are not as many people with those specific skills.”
Despite having a good education, Haroon Akram, 24, who moved over from the UK with his family two years ago, decided to re-train for a new career.
However, he found himself unemployed as a direct result of the credit crunch.
“Because the property market was booming and lots of people were making really good money in real estate, I decided to go and do a course in real estate,” he says. “Doing the course really helped me and I managed to get a job but then, when the recession hit, I lost it.”
Luckily for Haroon he is now going to work with his dad in the family truck rental business. But for those who don’t have many options available to them, Lucy suggests not being embarrassed to start at the bottom and work your way up.
“Being prepared to intern at companies, for little or no money, can be very hard, but is an excellent way to get a foot in the door,” she says.“We recommend continued professional development in any role. If you can keep abreast of the issues affecting your industry and learn about ways you can become more effective, you will have an advantage over your colleagues or those going for the same job.”
School leavers or anyone interested in a new career can register for a free place at the next Najah exhibition in Abu Dhabi by visiting www.najahonline.com
Careers advisors and representatives from universities and different industries will be on hand to offer advice