Abu Dhabi: University students turned out in large numbers on Wednesday at a career fair organised by Khalifa University with over 50 companies from both the private and public sector taking part, offering internships and job placements for suitable candidates.

Taking place at the university’s main campus in Abu Dhabi, the career fair has become an annual event attracting students from Khalifa University and other institutions in Abu Dhabi. Among the companies represented at the event were Etisalat, Adnoc, Etihad Airways, DP World, Samsung Engineering, Siemens, Dewa and the Telecom Regulatory Authority.

“I’ll be graduating this semester and I hope to find a job with Adnoc once I finish my studies,” said 23-year-old Emirati Mohammad Khalid. “The career fair is a good opportunity for me to come and directly talk with the company and to apply for a job with them. I hope they will accept me.

“There are many other opportunities if this one doesn’t work out, but it’s very important for me to get my decision correct once I graduate, making the right choice will determine whether I excel in my career or not,” he added.

Raad Al Ameri, another Emirati student at the career fair, said that he too had his sights set on working with Adnoc.

“I know what I want and where I want to go after I graduate, and it’s to work with Adnoc. I’ve seen other options at the career fair but Adnoc is my main choice and the company that has what I am looking for,” said the 25-year-old.

“I am excited for the next step in my life but at the same time I am a little bit afraid. My long term goal is to be a successful petroleum engineer, this is a profession that has been running in the family and so I want to continue on the same path. If Adnoc doesn’t work out for me, there are a lot of other companies I can try with, so I’m keeping positive,” he added.

Ahmad Kabour, a 23-year-old graduate from Syria who was also attending the career fair said that finding a job was a challenge for him ever since he graduated.

“I graduated six months ago and since then I have been looking for a job. I am looking for something in the technology sector, and so I came to the career fair to see if they had any internship programmes or job opportunities.

“The biggest challenge is the experience requirement, it becomes like a cycle from one company to another who want to know what experience you have, which is tough because you are a fresh graduate.

“I know the skills I have and my capabilities, but if nobody is willing to invest in you or give you at least three months to train you and put you on the right track, you’ll never be able to work. Many companies don’t even provide internships even though it doesn’t cost them anything, and in the end you become stuck in this loop,” he said.

Hiba Tarek, 22, from Pakistan, said she was still undecided on which specific career path and type of company she wanted to work with.

“I’m exploring different opportunities and just scouting out what there is. It’s good to be able to directly talk with these companies and see what they’re offering and also to understand what their culture and work environment is like,” she said.

“Sometimes you might think a certain company doesn’t suit you but then you talk with them and learn more about them, you actually find something interesting, and so it’s really helpful to be able to have this interaction.

“I would say the communication in fact is one of the biggest challenges for young job seekers. Companies will direct you to an email or they’ll write your name down, and so it becomes difficult to grab their attention when you want them to notice you,” she added.