The lack of part-time jobs and internships for teenagers in the UAE is harming children when it comes to applying for further education, according to locally based experts.
Speaking to the daily newspaper The National Rema Menon, owner of Counselling Point, an education consulting firm, said: “There is definitely a disadvantage because if you are an admissions person and you have three students, two of whom have those kind of experience and one who doesn’t, naturally you would favour a person with that kind of exposure, given all other things being the same.”
The law regarding the employment of minors was changed in 2011 when the Ministry of Labour loosened restrictions to enable national and expatriate students to work part-time, with some restrictions, from age 15.
Teenagers must, however, provide a medical certificate proving they are fit to work and present written permission from their parents. Teenagers aged 18 and over must apply for a part-time work permit which is a much more rigorous process and comes with a reasonably hefty cost.
The options available to teenagers who adopt either of these courses, is, though, very limited with the vast majority securing jobs via family or family friends.
Sunita Mirchandani, a mother of two sons who works as a lead adviser for education and training at the British Embassy, said that a culture of employment for teenagers needs to be fostered in the UAE. “There should be more opportunities for internships and apprenticeships at the school level, particularly in sectors that the UAE needs skilled workers,” she said.
“There should be a drive to link academics with industry."