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GCC youth ‘keen to turn passion into career’

Young people in the UAE and wider GCC desire early independence and the opportunity to turn their passion into a sustainable career, according to a new study.

They also want this career to be mutually beneficial for them and for their wider communities, said the study released by Expo Dubai 2020.

Expo 2020 Dubai has worked with market research firm YouGov to gather the opinions of youth in the UAE and GCC, on their hopes and ambitions, as well as areas of interest including hobbies, perspectives, role models and influencers.

Expo 2020 is bringing people together as part of its theme of connecting minds, creating the future. Youth engagement initiatives will provide skills, inspiration, connections, and opportunities for young people so they can play a central role in creating a better future.

This goal is closely aligned with the UAE Government’s aspirations for the nation’s young people. His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced a two-day retreat taking place on the Monday and Tuesday of this week under the hashtag #NationalYouthDialogue to discuss the dreams, aspirations, and challenges of youth. He tweeted: “Most of our nation is made up of our youth: our future is in their hands. We are a young country, proud of its youth.”

Last week, His Highness formally opened the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Connecting Minds Campus, where planning for the mega event will take place. He received presentations about the work already underway to convert Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme – ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’- from words into action, and investing in an event that leaves a lasting economic, cultural, educational, and social legacy.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s youth engagement initiatives include:
* The Apprenticeship Programme, a nine-month scheme that offers graduates under the age of 28 with the opportunity to learn from and work directly alongside the industry experts leading the delivery of Expo;
* YouthConnect, an annual event designed by youth for youth and provides them with the opportunity to gain new perspectives and discover new areas of interest to unlock their full potential and shape their own future. This year’s event targets youth from the GCC between the ages of 16-25;
* HIPA (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award) collaboration: a photography competition for young people based on Expo 2020’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability;
* Expo’s University Roadshow series: There have been a total of 20 roadshow events, seven of which took place in April 2016. They have been attended by a total of approximately 3,000 students

Manal AlBayat, vice president of engagement at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 will be a defining moment for the UAE and wider region. The opportunities, skills and experiences that the youth gain from the mega event will be an important contribution to Expo’s legacy. Engaging the youth through targeted initiatives will empower them to develop into future leaders in line with the UAE’s Vision 2020.”

AlBayat went on to explain how Expo 2020 was aligned to the National Youth Dialogue. “Expo 2020’s youth engagement initiatives respond to the aspirations of the youth. They provide opportunities for young people to network, build confidence and develop routes to future employment, which will in turn help them to achieve their independence and a vocation that is sustainable and beneficial to their communities, in line with our theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ “.

The YouGov study sought the views of 1,140 male and female students and graduates, between the ages of 16 and 25, who are residents of the GCC. It found that social media and online communication are the main sources of information for individuals of this demographic.

The study also found that the top aspirations of GCC youth in terms of family, are to be able to raise their own household, be reliable in order to support it, and create stability and peace of mind in the family environment. Youth wish to inspire positive change and to impact their communities through innovation, as well as to have a sustainable impact on the world.

In employment, youth seek equal opportunities for men and women; females are considering careers in traditionally more masculine fields such as aviation. They are in favour of achieving independence through internships and jobs, and would like to experience educational opportunities abroad and partake in a multicultural environment. The study showed a desire among youth to travel internationally.

Top ten topics of interest to  youth in the UAE are: Music; Technology; Cinema; Lifestyle; Sports; Photography; Health and fitness; Games; Information technology and Science.

Top five sectors of interest are: Travel; Technology and electronics; Education; Fashion and beauty; and Health.

Top source of information for today’s youth are: Social media; websites; TV; Mobile apps; Print newspapers; Radio; and Print magazines    

Youth engagement is a significant priority for Expo 2020 Dubai. Last month, the Expo team welcomed the first cohort of 27 individuals selected for the apprenticeship programme, and this month will see Expo continuing its school engagement activity.

The next Expo 2020 Dubai YouthConnect event will take place later this year.  – TradeArabia News Service

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