Expo 2020 Dubai fulfills commitment to upskilling and empowering Emiratis

UAE Nationals comprised nearly a third of Expo 2020 Dubai’s total workforce, the result of various initiatives to empower and upskill Emiratis across the organization – honoring the UAE’s wider Emiratisation efforts to unlock the potential of citizens and create a driving force in the country’s economic development.

Of the 30 % of UAE Nationals within its workforce, the majority (248 employees) worked within the Operations division; 35 % of all employees in leadership positions within this division were also Emiratis.

A total of 56 UAE Nationals worked in the Expo Pavilions & Exhibition division, followed by 35 in the Director General’s Office and 32 within Sales, Marketing, and Communications.

Reflecting Expo 2020 Dubai’s commitment to empowering women and youth, 65 % of the Emirati workforce were women, with 53 % of all nationals ages 20-30 and 34 % between 30 and 40.


Marjan Faraidooni, Chief HR Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Our efforts to recruit, upskill and empower Emiratis across the entirety of our World Expo have not emerged in a vacuum. With six unique recruitment and professional development initiatives, it represents our firm commitment – before, during, and after our six-month run – to the UAE’s wider Emiratisation efforts.

“As we celebrate 24 million visits, we also celebrate the talents of all UAE Nationals within our Tribe who have helped ensure the success of the region’s first World Expo, bringing the world together in the most uncertain of times.”

Empowering Emiratis has long been a central part of the UAE’s wider efforts to build a competitive knowledge economy, with Emiratisation being one of 11 Key Performance Indicators relating to Vision 2021, tracking its progress at the national level.

With this in mind, Expo 2020 Dubai ran two cycles of comprehensive Apprenticeship Programs – a month-long training Program where apprentices were given the opportunity to complete a series of classroom training and skill-building modules before a job placement at the World Expo.

In its second cycle, Expo 2020 collaborated with Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority to run the “Tumoohi Program” and as a testament to its popularity, 2,700 Emirati graduates applied, with 20 selected to join Expo 2020 Dubai.

Expo 2020 Dubai also launched the “Expo Generation Program”, open to 18-to-35-year-old Emirati graduates. Under this scheme, 122 Emiratis were selected for an intensive, exhilarating six-week training Program, which saw them develop key operational and leadership skills. The Program’s graduates were then assigned a supportive operational and management role, providing them with a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity.

The “Leading the Expo Way Program” was Expo 2020 Dubai’s first mass training course, designed specifically to create a consistent level of managerial and leadership across all leaders and managers and to lead ‘the Expo way’. This program consisted of four modules, with participants numbering more than 200.

Approximately 130 employees were also invited to be part of the Mission Leader Program, an accelerated learning initiative of five different modules. Designed to equip colleagues to become agents of change in their respective teams and across the organization. The Program saw participants grow and develop into senior positions at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The World Expo’s “Site Connect Program” comprised of five functional rotations and featured 61 participants, was developed in 2020 to provide colleagues with an opportunity to connect and understand the site, its structure, zones and the operational aspects required to confidently fulfil their roles with ‘on-the-job’ experiences. The Program allowed participants to understand and experience the intricate dynamics of the Expo operational environment, how it connects to other parts of the business and how they would operate during event-time.

The Program increased participants’ operational awareness, allowing them a better working knowledge of the Expo 2020 Dubai site within the context of operations.

Looking beyond the event’s conclusion on 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai has offered its “Outplacement Program” to all of its full-time or temporary employees to help them find new career opportunities after the international event.

The Program included online workshops, focused on CV writing, interview skills, and career counseling; career fairs; outreach to UAE Government and Expo 2020 Dubai Partners; and a Talent Book, featuring a short experience statement for UAE National staff for government and Partner organizations.

Al Jundi

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