A female teacher, who was earlier this week named the best Emirati professor in the country, has won her second award for an initiative to help fresh graduates gain vital work experience before joining the job market.
Dr Badreya Al Jenaibi from UAE University in Al Ain bagged the Musallam Bin Ham Al Ameri Innovation Award for her non-profit initiative ‘Mubadarah Community Engagement Programme’.
Earlier this week, she had won this year’s Emirates Award for being the ‘Best National Professor in the UAE’ from the Ministry of Education.
“I’m humbled after being recognised for my work. I am happy winning these two awards,” said the professor, who has snapped up more than 29 awards for teaching and community service.
“Many university graduates miss job opportunities because of lack of experience. The initiative provides professional experience and work experience certificates from governmental institutions — especially after completing the voluntary and professional programme or the educational programme.”
Dr Jenaibi from the Department of Media and Creative Industries at the UAE University started the non-profit initiative in 2012 with the aim of integrating undergraduates in the community, involving them in voluntary work, and helping them enhance their professional qualifications.
“This innovative new programme has been applied for the first time in a government university. The main aim of the initiative is to deal with social issues facing the country, especially unemployment among graduates,” she said.
“The programme helps fresh graduates by equipping them with practical experience — which is one of the main requirements to get a job. Students’ participation in this programme and their integration with domestic institutions help them gain practical experience certificates extended to four months.”
Al Jenaibi said her project established the first vocational centre of its kind in a government university, which qualifies students, so that they graduate with practical experience.
“The programme is concerned with a new idea in society which is voluntary professional education. The programme makes use of students’ free time through engagement and preparing programmes, projects, seminars, lectures, and new and innovative campaigns that are consistent with state policy such as innovation policy, reading, and smart learning,” she explained.
Citing an example of how her programme helps graduates, the Emirati professor said: “If a student volunteers for preparing a project about reading with the Ministry of Education, they will share their creative ideas to draw up the plan with the initiative team, and then they will participate in the activities and practically apply the project. Thereafter, the student gets an experience certificate from the Ministry as a reward for his/her time, valuable ideas, and volunteering efforts.