Etihad opens World’s first contact centre staffed solely by Emirati women

Etihad opens World’s first contact centre staffed solely by Emirati women

Etihad Airways today officially opened its new contact centre in Al Ain city, exclusively managed and operated by female UAE nationals.

The Al Ain Contact Centre, officially opened by Etihad Board Member and Chairman of the Executive Committee H.E. Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, is staffed by more than 80 Emirati ladies trained by industry specialists as contact centre agents and contact centre team leaders, under the leadership of Contact Centre Manager, Samia Barj.

In remarks at the opening ceremony today, H.E Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi said the opening of Al Ain Contact Centre was another milestone for the UAE and reflected the country’s vision for a highly skilled workforce comprised of an increasing number of UAE nationals.

This is in line with recent high level discussions held at the ‘Challenges to Emiratisation’ workshop hosted by the General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC) and Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council (ADTC), in which the drive to boost employment opportunities in Al Ain and other regional centres was cited as a key imperative.

“Etihad Airways’ Al Ain Contact Centre is an example to employers across the UAE,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Meeting the ambitions of our society will require the increasing participation of highly qualified UAE nationals - both female and male. Our job is to ensure that Emiratis are offered the right training and the right work environment to excel in their field, in turn making a strong impact on the workforce and their country’s economic development.”

The contact centre is the latest initiative to be introduced into Etihad’s innovative Emiratisation scheme, which currently includes cadet pilot, engineering, graduate manager programs and numerous direct entry roles across a range of corporate and operational functions.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “As the national airline of the UAE we are fully committed to growing our Emirati workforce, with respect for the culture and ambitions of the country and its people.

“We appreciate the different values and approach that Emirati women consider when entering the workforce, and the design of the centre aims to ensure its female-only structure and opportunities for flexible working hours allow women to develop their career, while creating a sustainable work, life and home balance.

“This is a mutually beneficial approach - we value the contributions that women with diverse backgrounds and perspectives make to our business, and we will leverage this to provide exceptional customer service tailored to our equally diverse customer base.

“Each lady working here is an ambassador for Etihad, and she positively represents the national airline’s image to people across the world. We continue to expand career opportunities for UAE nationals across the airline, but today, I am particularly proud of the ladies we have working here and congratulate them on the fine efforts we have seen so far.”

Recruitment for the centre was undertaken through a number of avenues, including the 2010 Al Ain Career Fair Exhibition, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, and walk-in candidates.

The employees have each completed a nine-month training and development program, which included a six month training course run in conjunction with Abu Dhabi University. The special course consisted of English language training, customer service skills and a comprehensive induction into Etihad Airways
.

All agents are trained to handle calls from Etihad’s guests and travel trade partners regarding all manner of sales and reservations enquiries relating to the product and services of the airline.

The Al Ain Contact Centre will initially be a satellite office of the Abu Dhabi Global Contact Centre, handling Arabic calls and English calls from the UAE and GCC markets.

Etihad’s Abu Dhabi Global Centre has more than 200 employees from 23 nationalities. Currently 20 per cent of the staff are UAE Nationals. It receives up to 150,000 calls every month. Etihad also has contact centres in Mumbai and Sydney.

Over time, as the centre in Al Ain grows, additional functions will be transferred to the Al Ain Contact Centre.

The centre is open between 8am and 8pm seven days a week.

There are a number of recruitment opportunities for UAE National ladies at the Al Ain Contact Centre and the airline has significant openings for suitable qualified UAE nationals for roles across all divisions. For further information, go to www.careers.etihadairways.com. The airline is also running an open day on Wednesday March 16 from 10.00am until 4.00pm for UAE Nationals interested in positions at the Al Ain Contact Centre and across at the airline. People who are interested can visit the Al Ain Contact Centre, located in the Abu Dhabi University female campus in Falajhazza, Al Ain.