DFRE announces winners of the DSS Apprenticeship Program 2014

DFRE announces winners of the DSS Apprenticeship Program 2014

DUBAI- The Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) announced the names of the 17 students from across the Middle East and North Africa, who have secured a spot in the coveted DSS Apprenticeship Program 2014.

The award-winning destination marketing internship, which has been a successful component of the iconic DSS since the first edition of the program, welcomes its largest-ever group of winners from 17 markets in 2014 – including its first apprentices from Yemen, Tunisia and Libya. More than 100 universities were invited to participate this year – a significant increase from the 80 universities representing 14 markets in 2013.

The 17 students who have been selected for the 9th edition of the program are: home country winner Sarah Makki (The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, UAE);Fatemah Jamalallail (Dar Al-Hekma University, KSA); Abdulaziz AlSabah (Australian College of Kuwait, Kuwait);Maryam Taqi (University College of Bahrain, Bahrain);Ali Al-Farsi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman); Najla Al-Thani (Stenden University, Qatar); Aya Jardaneh (Jordan University, Jordan); Nadeem Amary (American University of Beirut, Lebanon); Nouran Mahfouz (The British University in Egypt, Egypt); Dounia Boujrada (Al-Akhawayn University, Morocco); Nouran Salah (University of Khartoum, Sudan); Shawn Chomani (American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, Iraq); Nagham Sous (Birzeit University, Palestine); Shereen Juhani (Arab International University, Syria); Ahmed Median (Mediterranean School of Business, Tunisia);Eddie Zentani (American University of Libya, Libya) and Zahra Mohammed (Lebanese International University, Yemen).

Laila Suhail

Laila Suhail

H. E. Laila Mohammad Suhail, Chief Executive Officer, DFRE,said: “As we launch yet another exciting edition of the DSS Apprenticeship Program, we are once again looking forward to showcasing the region’s tremendous potential in terms of young talent who are set to drive the industry forward in the future.  The DSS Apprenticeship Program is a powerful and hugely beneficial knowledge-sharing platform that brings aspiring students from various parts of the region together, to help them develop real-life professional skills and deepen their practical knowledge of the industry. This year we are delighted to welcome apprentices from three new markets – including Libya, Tunisia and Yemen – as a step forward in our broader strategy to go global by 2015.” 

Winners will each receive an all-expense-paid trip to Dubai including return flights and a two-week stay at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM), strategic partners of the program for the last three years. EAHM is one of the world’s leading hospitality business management schools and part of Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding.

Throughout their stay, students will be attending workshops, visiting key DSS events and tourism landmarks, and meeting leading players behind the Destination Dubai brand.

Winners’ itineraries in the past have included interactions with leading Dubai-based entities that have helped build the city’s world-class tourism offering and global brand cachet, such as Emirates, Emaar Retail, MBC Group, Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Economic Department and Dubai Cares. This year’s winners can look forward to a similarly impressive agenda of key visits.

Many of the interns who will be on their maiden trip to Dubai will also get the opportunity to visit some of the city’s iconic tourism landmarks, including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Metro, Ski Dubai, Wild Wadi and lots more.

The selection process this year began with each participating university nominating its top six senior students from marketing, business administration, travel and tourism, event management and finance streams. Each student was asked to submit an essay on a topic chosen by the DSS Apprenticeship Program team. This year’s topic was: “What would you do differently for DSS 2014, in terms of promoting and positioning this event for your local market, if you were assigned the position of Chief Marketing Officer for DSS?”A special jury comprising key DFRE executives and other marketing professionals evaluated all the final submissions before shortlisting a winner from each country.

Sarah Makki

Sarah Makki

In her winning essay, Sarah Makki, the winning student from the UAE, said: “As Chief Marketing Officer for DSS, I will mainly focus on promoting the event via social media channels and also reintroduce the weekly surprises through new additions. I would organize a competition where fans are invited to post relevant pictures throughout DSS. Participants will be encouraged to use the hashtags #MyDubai and #DSS as a source of communication. Also since Ramadan takes up a big part of the summer season, I would develop food surprises, sweet surprises and heritage surprises, to be kicked off as weekly events to showcase the local food and the Ramadan spirit in Dubai. This would also apply during Eid, where Eid surprises could be introduced in the first few weeks of DSS to further promote the spirit of Eid in Dubai.”

“Sarah Makki from The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) delivered an insightful essay that demonstrated a strong understanding of her local market and the regional tourism industry. We congratulate Sarah on proposing a series of innovative ideas to uplift the DSS brand using both traditional and social media. We are confident that she will prove to be an asset to the DSS Apprenticeship Program and a perfect host to the other participants heading to Dubai,” added H. E. Laila M Suhail.

Commenting on their student’s success in securing a spot in the DSS Apprenticeship Program 2014, Ron Hilvert, Managing Director of The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management said: “We would like to congratulate Sarah Makki on this achievement and are proud to have her represent our institution, which is always encouraging innovation, creativity and diligence amongst its students. We are confident of Sarah’s abilities and talents and are certain that she will come out with flying colors at the end of this internship.”

The program will offer students the tools and resources they need to gain hands-on experience that will not only enhance their theoretical understanding of their chosen field of study, but also its practical applications, as they build a valuable network of potential future employers and corporate mentors.

At the end of the two-week internship, the apprentices will be grouped into teams to present their reflective proposals before the senior management. The presentations will be based on their observations and experiences from the program. 

Over the past editions, participating students who have successfully completed the internship and graduated from their respective universities have secured rewarding jobs at prestigious organizations and multinational companies in their home countries and abroad.

Since its launch in 2006, the DSS Apprenticeship Program has grown successfully to its current edition, which is another step forward in DFRE’s broader strategy to take the DSS Apprenticeship Program global by 2015, when the program will reach its 10-year milestone. 

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