Hisham Al Gurg predicts “Hybrid Model” of internships as businesses enter “New Normal”

Future of internships will be a hybrid model – a mix of online as well as physical interactions ­– and businesses need to adapt fast and enhance their digital capabilities to ensure a seamless onboarding of future interns, said Hisham Al Gurg, the CEO of Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum.

Change is the only constant, this famous saying by a Greek philosopher seems very apt in today’s circumstances. Covid-19 pandemic caught the whole world off-guard, but it was also an opportunity for businesses to show their resilience digital capabilities. They successfully pivoted their business strategies and incorporating virtual internships in their traditional work culture was one of the major changes,” said Mr Al Gurg, who was speaking at the University of Dubai’s webinar on ‘The future of internships after Covid-19’.

“However, I am a firm believer of human interaction and physical bonding. So I hope that internships will not be 100 per cent digital but at the same time they will not return to a complete in-person format once the pandemic ends. There will be a new hybrid model that will see both physical and online internships going hand in hand,” he added.

The webinar also hosted an array of industry experts and dignitaries including Saif Al Shehhi, Executive Director, Happiness and Positivity and Supply Management, National Bonds Corporation in the UAE; Charlotte Edwards, Graduate Development Lead at MENA Talent Team, Ernst & Young; Shaikha Ahmad, Head of Talent Acquisition, du Telecom and Virgin; and Dr. Eesa Bastaki, President, University of Dubai.

Moderated by Ahmed Jassim, Head of Human Resources, Commercial Bank International, the session touched upon various aspects of internships and the challenges being faced by young professionals across the world, due to the Covid-19 related disruptions.

“The pandemic forced all of us, even the companies that were not ready or willing to take the digital path, to embrace the change and the new normal. Almost all the organisations in the UAE converted to digital in one way or the other. So yes, I believe we are more than ready for the virtual or digital modes of internships,” said Mr Al Gurg.

Talking about the role of the businesses in ensuring a smooth transition to virtual internships, Ms Edwards said, “Businesses must keep in mind that the intern is someone who is fresh, they have so many ideas and they are an untapped potential with endless possibilities. A bit of guidance and support goes a long way.”

The webinar was followed by a question and answer round, where the participating speakers shared their insights over various challenges and possible solutions.

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