By Vince Cook
The banking sector represents a cornerstone of achieving these ambitious aspirations, writes Vince Cook, CEO at National Bank of Fujairah
The UAE government has put youth empowerment high on its agenda to ensure the young generation is well equipped to contribute to the national development drive.
The country’s leadership has worked with partners across the public and private sectors to empower this segment and prepare them to contribute to the welfare of the community through a continued focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.
The focus has been on instilling leadership qualities in young Emiratis and extending them opportunities to play a pivotal role in the decision-making process at all levels. As a result of this progressive vision, the Emirati youth have become global role models in leadership, excellence, and national responsibility.
At the Mohammed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi called on UAE youth to help lay the groundwork for the country’s present and future. The UAE’s leadership is confident in the young generations’ abilities to drive the country’s future towards success and prosperity.
The banking sector... [should] support young entrepreneurs
The banking sector represents a cornerstone of achieving these ambitious aspirations. This is principally expected to be achieved by making funds readily available for strategic projects as well as supporting the young entrepreneurs among our customers. The industry will continue to work to ensure the country sits among the leading global economies. We are eagerly looking forward to new initiatives in 2019 which are aimed at supporting the SME sector. As outlined in the National Employment Strategy 2031, support for Emirati employment in the banking sector is also an important pillar for growth and economic development.
A decade after the global financial crisis, the past couple of years have seen their own set of challenging macroeconomic conditions as well as an ever-evolving and increasingly complex regulatory environment. From where we stand, there is no better time or bigger need for transformation and innovation. So today, greater inclusion of the young generation of leaders will lead to better business in the present and future.
One of the greatest hurdles that has traditionally prevented young Emiratis from joining the banking sector lies in the limited access to attractive employment opportunities. This issue has been actively addressed by the Central Bank, which has revamped its Emiratisation strategy to enforce a more qualitative points system in the beginning of 2018 to help raise the importance of more meaningful nationalisation in the banking sector.
There is no better time or bigger need for transformation and innovation
Of course, just meeting the required points should not be the end goal for the banking and finance industry. Instead, there is a broader need to streamline our efforts and focus on providing Emiratis with real opportunities to kick-start their careers and develop them in meaningful ways.
This is where financial institutions, such as the National Bank of Fujairah, continue to unlock opportunities to create a sustainable pipeline of Emirati leaders in the banking sector. An example is the NBF Management Trainee Programme, our annual, year-long hands-on training programme for young Emirati professionals.
Integrating young talent in the industry is a top priority but not the only one. Providing a platform to ensure their voice is heard and acted upon to ensure they contribute to the future of the organisation is also key. Our experience shows that leaning in can pay off in terms of innovation and creativity across departments.
A great example is NBF Ajyal, a bespoke banking service developed by young Emiratis to provide other young locals with financial guidance and support when they are at the beginning of their career by building greater financial literacy and ultimately shaping well rounded independent future leaders.