UAE launches health care recruitment, training initiative

'The UAE has placed health, security and education at the top of its agenda for the future success of the country.' Robert Ball, CEO of National Ambulance

Career opportunities. A vehicle of National Ambulance, the leading national provider for emergency pre-hospital care in the United Arab Emirates. (National Ambulance)

2017/08/27 Issue: 121 Page: 20

The Arab Weekly
Jennifer Bell

Abu Dhabi - A mbulance chiefs in the UAE say a new initia­tive to recruit Emiratis to spearhead emergency medical treatment ser­vices could raise quality and effec­tiveness by bringing potentially life-saving skills and cultural knowledge to the job.

Through the Emirati Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) pro­gramme, begun in May by National Ambulance in conjunction with the University of Sharjah and Charles Sturt University in Australia, up to 35 high school graduates in the north­ern Emirates will undergo rigorous theoretical and practical training to prepare for full-time jobs.

The first wave of students enter­ing the programme is to spend a year learning basic life-support and trauma techniques from experts. During training, they are expected to become familiar with ambulances and medical equipment, undertake clinical placements and accompany experienced ambulance workers on the road. This will equip them to become emergency medical techni­cians by the end of their training.

The initiative is designed to en­courage young nationals to consider careers in the front line of emer­gency medical response to benefit their communities and support the country in its need to cater to the de­mands of a rapidly expanding health sector. Ahmed al-Hajeri, deputy chief executive officer of National Ambulance, said Emirati EMTs can bring “soft” skills and cultural in­sight that will further strengthen the emergency service’s operation.

“Providing the nation with highly trained professionals coming from the communities where we operate is a strategic objective for us, in line with UAE’s vision of empowering Emirati youth and preparing them to work in vital sectors that support the sustainable development of the UAE,” he said.

“Emiratis can utilise their local insight of culture and locality to en­hance our service. In the emergency services, every second counts and the knowledge and skills of Emiratis can come to the fore. Working for the community is a noble pursuit and, by joining National Ambulance, young Emiratis will be able to support their local communities while also giving back to their country.”

Hajeri said nationals’ willingness to see the health care sector as a po­tential career path is evidenced by the number of applications to the Emirati EMT programme, which is to begin in the 2017-18 academic year.

“Since the programme was launched, the response from local people has been extremely positive,” he said. “We have been impressed by the calibre of those applying to join and we have set high standards to ensure the first batch of graduates for this new initiative have the best chance to succeed.

“The UAE has identified health as an important sector and a priority for the nation and, to meet the demands of its growing health sector, we have identified an opportunity that com­bines meeting an operational need with creating career opportunities for UAE nationals.”

The selected students, between 18 and 30 years of age and having completed national service, are to be trained by academic specialists and internationally qualified educators, with the University of Sharjah lead­ing a foundation module, Charles Sturt University’s curriculum form­ing the basis of a core module and the National Ambulance leading an operations module.

“It is important that our workforce reflects and respects everywhere we operate,” said Robert Ball, chief exec­utive officer of National Ambulance.

“The UAE has placed health, se­curity and education at the top of its agenda for the future success of the country. Working on the front line of health care is an attractive and worthwhile career, and our Emirati EMT programme will enable local people to learn new skills and devel­op a career in a sector that is critical to the nation.”

Ball said students who enter the training programme will receive top quality education. “National Ambu­lance prides itself on being a leader in delivering emergency health services to the people of the UAE,” he said.

“Our standards reflect the high­est international best practice, so initiatives such as our Emirati EMT programme represent a model way of making progress.”

Jennifer Bell is an Arab Weekly contributor based in the United Arab Emirates.

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