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With a research-led British education approach, Heriot-Watt University's (HWU) campus in Dubai Knowledge Park delivers a stimulating learning environment for students to simultaneously evolve their academic and employability skills.

This in turn allows HWU graduates to be hired by some of the biggest global and local brands, across sectors.

Jobs in demand

A recent study suggested jobs in the technology sector being most in demand, followed by a rise in hire in healthcare, HR, sales, retail, finance and oil and gas. These fields are extensively covered and studied at HWU.

The most sought-after roles are in software development, with fresh graduates and existing HWU alumni seen in engineering, IT, Product Management and Product Development roles.

According to HWU career office, the top 13 companies in the UAE where HWU graduates work include ADNOC Group, Emirates, Schlumberger, ASGC, Parsons Corporation, WSP in the Middle East, Deloitte, AECOM, DEWA, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Noon, Majid Al Futtaim and Chalhoub Group.

The graduates hold important positions in turnkey divisions including Operations, Business Development, Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Program and Project Management, IT, Arts and Design, Education, HR, Accounting, Customer Success and Support, Media and Communication, and Research.

In the field of data science, one of the fastest-growing fields, HWU alumni are hired as data scientists across several key sectors by government organisations and global companies including the UAE Department of Culture and Tourism, Microsoft, Talabat, Deloitte, SAP and Digital Energy.

HWU Digital Media graduates currently hold positions in popular brands such as Ounass, Chalhoub Group, Landmark Group, Adidas, Al Futtaim and Huda Beauty. Graduates with skills such as digital marketing, social media marketing, media and communication and management skills are more likely to be hired.

All this is of course made possible thanks to the extensive extensive professional support that HWU provides its students on their road to a great future. This includes organising career fairs and the Graduate Futures Service to assist students and recent graduates to make informed career decisions.

The Careers and Graduate Futures Service helps students in career planning, offering them professional employer and academic support, with high-quality career advice and information.

Through these events, students avail of opportunities to identify potential career options, acquire work experience and enrich their branding before employers and the industry and achieve their professional goals.

Online support

The GRADfutures careers portal (shared by all five HWU campuses) further allows students to gather information on job vacancies, careers and skills development workshops, and occupational resources, all accessible to them anytime via their laptop or smartphone.

Students also get to explore internships and jobs opportunities through the vast company database on the portal. Register with HWU for career events, attend industry webinars, participate in industry-led competitions and get access to additional employment resources and advice on career assessments, psychometric tests and more.

Face-to-face support

HWU provides multiple ways for students to get in-person support. Career consultants are also on call via GRADfutures, offering current students and recent alumni a 1:1 appointment (online and in-person) through pre-booking slots.

The student may also attend a drop-in session with a career consultant or attend on-campus events to speak with a career consultant to enquire and clear concerns in their chosen profession.

HWU's multiple events on campus and online facilitate opportunities for successful industry networking between students, alumni, and graduate recruiters. The main events include:

• Career Insight Talks – An introduction to the world of work

• Careers Fairs – Companies speak with students about diverse topics and opportunities

• Recruitment Fair – Allows students to talk to recruiters offering internships and graduate jobs

· Career Workshops – Career consultants and staff deliver skill-specific, practical workshops to offer hands-on advice on CV writing, personal branding on Linkedin, and much more

· Company Drop-In Sessions – Allows students to speak with individual companies in a more intimate setting

Career workshops

HWU’s career development workshops are based on the students’ academic disciplines and held to assist them in developing employability and soft skills. The events include sessions on career planning, goal setting, CV/Cover letter writing, interview skills, personal branding and more.

The workshops also help students develop effective job search strategies, write a statement of purpose, make a professional LinkedIn profile, and workplace etiquette, among others.

These sessions are well integrated into the teaching timetable, engaging students to work successfully towards their career goals throughout their studies, thereby training them to meet changing employer and market needs.

HWU also provides students with opportunities that can enhance their career-readiness.

The University, for instance established the Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction, and Industry Advisory Boards for each School, giving direct industry insight and input into programmes, and established several MOUs in different industries to enhance student learning.

One of these MOUs by HWU was recently signed with Bentley, which invited 15 female HWU students to their Extraordinary Women Global Initiative - Forces for an Inspiration panel discussion, as potential candidates for the mentorship programme, and from which two students were selected. The lucky two will gain knowledge and experience for their future employability and will also travel to the UK as part of the programme.

- Special to GN Focus