The Careers Services team at the HCT-Al Ain Women’s campus (AAW) hosted the college’s second Program Choice Fair of the academic year, during the first and second weeks of February.
The purpose of the event was to enable Foundations students to make informed choices about their future study and career paths. However, this semester the format and organization of the event differed considerably from previous semesters.
On Sunday February 3, Levels 3 & 4 Foundations students gathered in the library for a preliminary ‘Discovery Session’. The Level 4 students were led by Ms. Mariam Alazeezi, Assistant for Work Placement, while Mr. Mahommed Adams, Senior Specialist in Work Placement, conducted the online Career Coach assessment with the Level 3 students.
“The purpose of this Discovery Session is to give the students a better idea of how their interests and aspects of their personalities would fit within six specially selected career groups,” Ms. Theresa Findlay, Senior Specialist in Career Coaching, explained.
“We will re-visit the results of this assessment after the students have visited the different departments in the college,” she added.
Two days later, on February 5, the same students gathered in the Absher room for the first session in ‘Exploring AAW’s Programs’. Here they were welcomed by Mr. Stephen Aston, Foundations Program Coordinator, who briefly introduced them to the event and stressed the importance of asking questions.
After that, Ms. Mariam Alazeezi gave a short talk explaining the purpose of the event and distributed QR codes so that the students could login and register their attendance. Then, Ms. Theresa Findlay introduced the Careers Services team, outlined the stages of the morning’s proceedings, and conducted a Nearpod session on career exploration. This involved the students answering questions about what their future ambitions were in their childhood; which world problems they would most like to help solve; and what skills they would need to learn to solve these problems.
Following this the students were split into two groups. While one group, comprising Level 4 students and a number from Level 3, were escorted to the Engineering labs, the other group remained in the Absher room to be addressed by representatives from the Faculty of Business.
These students were introduced to the department by Mr. Omar Badran, Lecturer in Business, who started by asking how many students “love” business, and would be willing to work in the private sector.
Dr. Khwaja Khan, Business Program Chair, then briefly explained that he hoped the students would learn what the Business program is about; what students do on the program; and what the expectations of the program are. First of all, the students learned about the specializations of HR Management along with Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Mani Chakraborty, Assistant Professor in Business, explained how all companies have an HR department and most of the senior positions are Emiratized so this is a popular choice of specialization, although learning about entrepreneurship is also a good choice for those who wish to start their own business.
Dr. Mohamed Kamara, Assistant Professor in Business, then outlined the Accounting specialization, emphasizing that accountancy is “the language of business” before explaining the different components of the program. Finally, one of the senior HR students, Duaa Omar Bin Tarsh, talked to the students about her experiences and her journey in the Business program.
“In the Business department we are able to make a great connection between the courses we study and the real world. Studying Business at HCT leads to vast opportunities, not just in terms of helping gain employment in the government or private sector, but also if we want to be self-employed,” she said.
Meanwhile the other group of students were taken to the largest lab at AAW and were introduced to the Aeronautical Engineering department by Dr. Aman Melake, Assistant Professor in ETS (Aero). As Dr. Melake explained the facilities and functions of the lab, the students were excited to see the large sub-solid testing wind tunnel and enjoyed filming the flight demonstration wind tunnel in action on their phones.
After this Dr. Melake demonstrated the Instruments Lab, including the various monitors and landing gear, while Mr. Mohamed Ismail, Lab Instructor, explained the process of design, testing and manufacture to the students in the Computer-Aided Manufacturing Lab, and gave the students a demonstration of 3D printing.
Before each group swapped locations, they received an encouraging talk from Mrs. Hamsa Al Ammari, Director of the Al Ain Colleges, who praised the faculty in both of the departments and urged the students to consider their choices carefully.
Once the two groups had received information from both departments, they reconvened in the Absher room to receive a debriefing from Ms. Theresa Findlay in the form of an interactive game in which the students had to decide which career-oriented group they would join at a party.
The second phase of Program Choice day was organized on February 12, 2019 where the Computer Information Science (CIS), and Education divisions met with the Foundation students in two sessions.
Dr. Yasir Javed, AAW CIS Chair, welcomed the students and gave them a brief summary of the programs offered. Dr. Maher Salem, AAW CIS faculty member, then held had an interactive session with the students, showing them the importance of Application Development, Networking, and Security and Forensics concentrations offered by CIS.
The students were amazed to see the exciting courses, and careers paths they can chose after graduating from CIS. The students visited the CIS computer laboratories where they were briefed about the equipment used in various courses. The students were pleased to see that most of the courses are applied and involve learning by doing.
At the end of the tour, the students were gathered in the Abshir room for a debriefing and Q & A session. During this session, Aisha Yasser, CIS students’ representative and AAW Student Council President, answered the students’ many questions.