Bedaya Center, a joint initiative between Qatar Development Bank and Silatech, provides Qatari youth access to a wide range of services including career guidance, self-assessment, employability skills development, employability and entrepreneurship, mentoring opportunities, volunteering, practical training, networking activities, and lecturer programmes.
Bedaya Center aims to provide Qatari youth with career development and entrepreneurship services by organising several ‘basic skills’ training workshops which will help them start their career in the Qatari labour market, or to launch their own business. The Center holds several monthly activities and annual conferences which all aim at helping the youth reach their professional and entrepreneurial goals by developing their skills and abilities and setting goals and work plans.
Their vision is to become the premier destination for entrepreneurial and career development services in Qatar. There is access to a range of youth services, training programmes and activities each month, held during the day, in the evenings and on the weekend in order to meet career goals, develop skills and accelerate entrepreneurial spirit. However, while much of the focus is on developing the student’s career choices and business acumen, it is also a chance for the student or entrepreneur to learn something about him or herself.
The Bedaya Center Career Development section is keen to help youth in Qatar get on the right career track for a bright future. Assistance is given to any student or fresh graduate looking to start a flourishing career, and also for parents struggling to give career advice to their children.
The centre has developed a set of tools and resources to assist students in making a well- informed career decision and for an effective career development plan.
Job shadowing is a work experience option where students learn about a job by walking through
the work day as a shadow to an employee. It is an unpaid temporary situation, with the aim of giving maximum exposure to the student in one or more of their chosen areas of interest. This allows students to experience firsthand the work environment, employability, and what occupational skills they have and which ones they need to develop.
Held in a similar vein, internships are available to college and university students, and also to post- graduate adults. Again this is usually temporary, and both paid or unpaid. Internships can lead on to permanent, paid employment with the organisation – not only of benefit to the intern but also the employer who has already provided training to the new employee.
The centre runs monthly training programmes and workshops to provide ongoing support. Topics include adapting to a new work place, creating the right first impression, and how to be a charismatic leader. A coaching clinic offers free 1:1 coaching sessions to further improve skills – and the coaching certification training programme means some students become coaches themselves.
There are multiple programmes available to provide entrepreneurs with guidance at any stage along the journey to starting their own business. This can be via workshops, mentoring programmes, networking sessions, and promotional support tailored to each specific startup.
The Enterprise Challenge Qatar annual competition increases young people’s knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm about business and enterprise. Through an online business game, students experience a realistic business scenario where they produce, develop and market a new product.
The competition encourages students to learn how different components of business come together to determine success, and to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship. Key to the Enterprise Challenge is the support offered by volunteer mentors, whose real-life experience of business enables them to advise and coach students through the various stages of the competition. This programme is sponsored by Qatar Shell.
Bedaya Center has successfully partnered with a number of universities in Qatar to provide workshops to students. Programmes have been run in association with Qatar University, The Community College of Qatar, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Stenden University Qatar, College of the North Atlantic Qatar, and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The workshops have covered subjects such as ideation, marketing and sales, budgeting, business model canvas, customer validation, project management, and how to pitch an idea.
Summer bootcamps introduce entrepreneurial thinking at an early stage to young school students. A number of specific programmes have been developed to engage with students and support them in their learning process. Topics range from team building to creative thinking and branding.
Advice is not restricted to those who want to start a business, but also for those who already have. There are programmes for early stage startups and established businesses, with information readily available on how to develop ideas and what steps the entrepreneur needs to take to further the business. Support is given to promote businesses and products into different markets, and to devise a long term business plan to maximise growth and potential.
Students and businesses can expect to receive even more support in the future, with the centre having recently signed Memorandums of Understanding to work alongside schools and financial institutions.
Counselling and professional development services will be offered to students at Qatar Finance and Business Management Independent Secondary School for Boys, exposing students to a work environment, conducting preliminary tests and providing consultancy sessions in coordination with academic advisers.
Meanwhile support will be given to 100 students across different departments at Qatar National Bank. QNB Group’s Learning and Development Department will collaborate with Bedaya to train both fresh graduates and current students, and will also engage trainees in programmes dedicated to new recruits.
Under the MoU between Bedaya and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, both organisations will work together to raise awareness of the importance of Qatar’s financial sector and the careers to be found there, develop specific career development for the sector, and help to unlock the potential of Qatari youth. Additionally, the Regulatory Authority will consult on the preparation of the career videos that Bedaya produces highlighting the finance sector, and will also collaborate with Bedaya on its work exploration programmes, such as job shadowing and internships.
Note: This article has been extracted from Marhaba’s Issue No 65 Spring/Summer 2016. For more special features, pick up Marhaba’s Issue No 65, only QAR20, from the nearest hypermarket or bookstore to you. Click here for details.
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