Today’s youth present an incredible opportunity for the world and for our businesses. They are not just our future employees, they are tomorrow’s leaders.
The utilities sector faces a major challenge in ensuring it has a sufficiently skilled workforce. Like many others, the sector is navigating technological advancements that are transforming skill requirements welcoming a young and new workforce as older workers retire. Now more than ever, the sector needs to focus on new and innovative ways to identify and train the next-generation workforce to prevent development challenges.
International Youth Day 2022 focuses on inter-generational solidarity, particularly as it relates to eliminating ageism against young people. Utility companies must appeal to the next generation of talent in order to succeed, especially those with an innovative mindset and the right technical skills.
In the UAE, youth represent the largest demographic with nearly 50 per cent of the population between 15 and 35. This is the largest number of young people to transition to adulthood in the country’s history.
Organisations around the UAE are looking for young employees to bring in innovative and solution-oriented mindsets, along with specific skillsets. For the utilities sector, this represents an excellent opportunity to diversify the sector and recruit from a large pool of talent that is hungry to make a difference — resulting in a greater, more inclusive and purpose-driven workforce.
However, organisations must ensure that there are meaningful pathways for young people that will lead to high-quality jobs. According to the World Economic Forum, there are severalways organisations can achieve this, including:
1. Investing in local solutions that help youth access not just education but skills-development programmes. This is how businesses can create shared value that benefit businesses and communities alike.
2. Seeking out new opportunities to train young people through hands-on mentorships and programmes. This offers an excellent opportunity to prepare tomorrow’s workforce while also identifying and nurturing potential young talent for your own businesses.
3. Giving youth a voice in your organisation by bringing them into decisions and letting them shadow veteran employees.
Youth gains momentum in the utilities sector
Investing in today’s youth will ensure that the utilities sector of the future is run by qualified professionals who have the necessary skills to power a thriving future. Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) is accelerating positive outcomes by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and giving support that is needed to develop young people’s potential. We are also investing more to attract the right talent with tailored career path programmes that engage and develop staff members to increase the percentage of youth within our organisation, which currently stands at 33.5 per cent.
For instance, ADDC’s team has launched an exclusive summer initiative for UAE students — the Junior Power Programme. It aims to give future professionals an opportunity to gain knowledge of multiple functions, in line with ADDC’s commitment to encourage youth to explore, deepen their knowledge and develop vital research, innovation and networking skills.
Our parent company, TAQA, Abu Dhabi’s low carbon power and water champion and one of the UAE’s largest listed companies, is also committed to laying foundations for an accelerated career within the utilities industry. TAQA recently launched the ETLAQ graduate training programme, which serves to attract, select and develop tomorrow’s leaders. Upon successful completion of the programme, each ETLAQ participant will be placed into a full-time entry level management role within TAQA Headquarters or one of the UAE operating companies, including ADDC.
With so many young people on the verge of entering the workforce, integrating youth into the utilities sector is vital if we are to continue providing services like power and water that are essential for our communities to thrive. It is also imperative if we are to build a more sustainable future. I am proud of the work ADDC and TAQA are doing to attract the brightest employees to our sector, ensuring that the future of our industry and community is in safe hands.
— His Excellency Saeed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC)