Trainees happy with Oman's internship programmes

Energy Tuesday 31/July/2018 20:55 PM
By: Times News Service
Trainees happy with Oman's internship programmes

Muscat: Omani trainees are praising the internship programmes available across Oman.
Two trainees spoke to the Times of Oman about their experience, highlighting the importance of gaining real-work experience before becoming full-time employees.
Regarding internship programmes, Deema Al Khalili, from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), said, “I’ve been at Ithraa – Oman’s inward investment and export development agency – for six weeks.” “So far, it’s been really good. It’s helped me gain a better insight into how both the public sector and business community operate, and what it’s like to deal with people in the workplace, she added.
“Overall, I believe the work experience I’ve gained has been invaluable, especially the daily support mentors within Ithraa have given me. I certainly feel better equipped to deal with people, conduct research, write correspondence, conduct meetings, manage my time, as well as liaise with the media,” said Al Khalili.
“From a big picture perspective, the experience has helped me gain a better understanding of what I want to do after I finish my degree,” added Al Khalili.
Dana Al Riyami, who also studies at SQU, told the Times of Oman, “At first, I had some fears about the internship - Ithraa deals with inward investment and export promotion, and I wasn’t sure I had the right background or skills for this type of organisation. However, I settled in really quickly and found the skills I picked up in my Marketing and IT degree course at Sultan Qaboos University were really useful.
“I’ve learnt a lot over the past six weeks – this ranges from working in teams, negotiating, preparing and delivering presentations, interacting with local businesses and the media. I’ve also learnt to cope better with disappointment when things haven’t gone the way the team planned. It’s been a very real, authentic experience. My learning curve has been vertical.
“My time at Ithraa has given me the opportunity to reflect on who I am and what I want to do once I graduate. I’ve been introduced to new ways of thinking. It’s all been highly positive and I’d thoroughly recommend a summer internship to any of my friends,” said Al Riyami.
They also said that more Omanis should participate in trainee and internship programmes.
Professional career
Al Khalili added, “Internships can help young Omanis build early professional experiences and offer them a clearer perspective on what they would like to do with their careers. It is truly an incredible learning experience.
“The experiences and skills a person gains from an internship are invaluable, and they give you a huge advantage when looking for a job or when interviewed by potential employers. Internships also help build professional connections with organisations and people, again, which are crucial for when looking for your first job.”
Al Riyami added, “In order for Oman to be competitive on a global scale, we need an energetic and skilled workforce. So, yes, I believe all young Omanis should seek an internship, because the future of our country will rely on the youth, and we need to be well prepared to face the challenges ahead. And with a very competitive job market, internships are a great way to help you stand out from the crowd.”
Teachers, academics agree
Lateef Shadad, General Manager of Mass International, said, “Developing the talented youth of Oman has been a longstanding topic of debate.
“I have always been of the view that to develop and nurture young talent before they take up jobs, it is imperative that their academic knowledge be fully in line with the needs of the job market.
“Most of the time, young job seekers hop into jobs after getting their degrees, rather than developing their knowledge and practical skill sets to suit the latest trends in their industry or field of choice.
“To connect what is learned in the classroom to what is needed in the workplace, internships should be a must for all degrees or courses, so that students can stand on their own and learn how to approach real work situations.”
Raj Kumar, a college instructor, said he thought internships and trainings were the key in developing human resources.
“Its vital that students get the opportunity to put theory into practice. While learning from teachers is important, given the way markets change and develop, it is a key that pupils see firsthand how the workplace evolves, as well as the requirements they need to meet.
“Additionally, they will have the opportunity to gain leadership skills and learn what it is like to work as part of a team. This can make all the difference when they finally do enter the workforce,” said Kumar.