ENEC Study Reveals Nuclear Energy is the Future For Emirati Students


83 per cent of Emirati students polled want to be part of the energy industry of the future

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) today shared the results of a study highlighting the motivations of Emirati students when it comes to their field of study and choice of career. Commissioned to ensure ENEC’s human capacity development program, ‘Energy Pioneers’, matches the interests and ambitions of young nationals today, the research shows students favor science in higher education as they believe it gives them better career prospects and the expertise to support the country’s growth. ENEC’s Energy Pioneers program is designed to help the UAE’s best and most talented science students become the future leaders of the nuclear energy sector.

The UAE’s need for energy is growing by 9 per cent each year, and the government has identified nuclear energy as a safe, clean, efficient and reliable way to power the nation’s future growth. By 2020, nuclear energy could provide up to a quarter of the nation’s energy needs. ENEC expects to require more than 2,000 employees by 2020, with a target of 60 per cent Emiratization.

Currently, ENEC employs more than 400 people, with 60% of these positions occupied by Emiratis. More than 170 Emirati students are currently sponsored under ENEC’s scholarship programs.

Azzah Al Sharhan, Human Resources Director at ENEC, explained: “Emirati students want to play a role in the development of their nation. This desire to make a difference is what drove people to join the oil and gas industries in the 1960s as pioneers of a new sector. Today’s generation of energy pioneers are turning to nuclear.”

“To deliver our ambitious program we require a large and highly skilled workforce. The first step for many of our future industry leaders will be our range of scholarships and courses, which offer excellent benefits, extensive training and development, and the opportunity to become a part of one of the country’s most critical projects.”

The Emirati students interviewed for the study showed a combination of pragmatism and vision; 83 per cent of current students said they chose nuclear energy because they want to be part of the energy industry of the future. Eighty-seven per cent chose ENEC for its vision. The study also showed 87 per cent of students chose ENEC scholarships for the prospects of career growth, as a new industry offers better long-term prospects with opportunity for advancement.

The research shows that Emirati students favored science in higher education because they believe it gives them the skills to excel in work. Good career opportunities was cited as the reason for choosing a career in engineering by 85 per cent of prospective students. The qualities students looked for in a scholarship program were good employment opportunities after graduation (64 per cent), a scholarship with a tie-up with good institutions (62 per cent), and a good curriculum (56 per cent).

ENEC shared the results of the Energy Pioneers study today at a roundtable focused on the development of the national human capital required to run and operate the UAE’s nuclear program. The independent quantitative and qualitative research was conducted by TNS and polled 76 current and 151 potential students in the first quarter of 2012.

ENEC’s range of scholarship programs include Bachelor Degree Programs in Chemical, Nuclear, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, studying at leading institutions in the UAE and USA, and a Masters Degree Program in Nuclear Engineering offered locally at the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research. ENEC has developed the scholarship initiative together with Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KU), and the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). A Higher Diploma of Advanced Energy Engineering Technology with the Abu Dhabi Polytechnic offers specialist technical training over three years, providing the expertise to operate a nuclear fleet. The Senior Reactor Operator Program offers specialist training for qualified nationals.