His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, opened the 13th edition of the three-day National Career Exhibition at Expo Centre Sharjah on Wednesday (February 23).The three-day exhibition, which runs until Friday (February 25), is being held under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan.

The show, which is aimed at providing career opportunities for national graduates in the banking and financial sector, saw the participating exhibitors highlighting their achievements in Emiratisation. The challenges lying ahead for the Emiratisation programme was a strong topic of debate on the opening day of the show.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Mr Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI), Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah, Directors of various government departments and representatives of trade associations as well as strong showing from the private sector.

Experts in the field pointed out that the banking sector has been achieving the stipulated four per cent annual rate of increase. The total number of nationals working in banks has reached 12,851 out of a total 37,340 employees in 2009, an Emiratisation rate of 34.4 per cent and a 3.3 per cent increase compared with 2008.

However, the Emiratisation rates in finance, insurance and money exchanges were behind expectations, they pointed out. “The new classification system announced by the Labour Ministry for companies will be a big encouragement for various segments of the financial sector to train and recruit more national graduates,” said Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, after the opening ceremony.

As per the new rules, the Emiratisation rate should be not less than 15 per cent of the total number of staff in large companies. Companies will be divided into categories based on their compliance with the legislation and how they create a diverse workforce.

“National graduates should be spearheading the economic activities of the country. The National Career Exhibition will give companies in the financial sector a golden opportunity to recruit the right talent and prepare them for a responsible position in their organization as well as play a key role in the development of the country,” added Mr Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa.A recent study also pointed out that the Emirati public sector employment market is reaching a saturation point and there is a need to focus on educational reform and private sector to create more jobs for national graduates.

“The UAE has a diversified economy and its status as an economic hub of the region has encouraged hundreds of regional and international financial institutions to set up shop here. The financial sector can open up better employment opportunities for qualified Emiratis. Apart from banks, we have brought together investment banks, money exchanges, insurance companies, free zones and government departments to present varied opportunities to national graduates,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah.

More than 100 establishments from the financial sector are taking part in the show, featuring job opportunities in various positions across their ogranisational structures.

“This will be a truly unique opportunity for national graduates to find all the leading local and foreign institutions from the banking and the financial sector under a single roof, allowing them to speak to several prospective employers at the same time and choose the position that suits them the most,” added Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.

“The banking industry is highly competitive. Banks and other establishments need qualified and well-trained human capital in order to provide quality services to succeed in the business. NCE will be the best platform for them to spot the right talent,” added Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.

Visitors to the show can also find assistance in choosing the right career through additional events that will be held alongside such as workshops, symposia, counseling and discussions sessions.

A new participant in the show this time is the UAE Armed Forces, where its Air Force and Air Defence wing will have a stall at the show.

“In Air Force and Air Defence, there are so many fields and work specialties that give the UAE youth -- male and female alike -- freedom of selection from the trades that satisfy their ambitions and educational aspirations. We offer a distinctive and competitive work environment, as we always look forward for developing and upgrading our human resources to the best level of performance,” a statement from Air Force and Air Defence said.

Another first-time participant will be the UAE Navy, which will be offering a slew of openings to choose from for young graduates. Apart from this, several other banks, financial firms and government departments are taking part in the show for the first time.

The Gold sponsors for this year’s show are National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Commercial Bank of Dubai while du is participating in the show for the 3rd consecutive year and supports the National Career Exhibition this year as the Telecom Partner.

The exhibition will open daily from 10am to 8pm. On Friday, the timings are from 4pm to 10pm. Exclusive ladies timings for the show will be from 10 am to 2 pm on February 24 (Thursday).

The National Career Exhibition is being organised by Expo Centre Sharjah in association with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies.