Strategies and public policy models of effective human capital, talents and workforce development : an investigation into the effectiveness of different scholarship programmes in the United Arab Emirates, UAE

Barhama Al Afifi, Zayed Hassan (2016) Strategies and public policy models of effective human capital, talents and workforce development : an investigation into the effectiveness of different scholarship programmes in the United Arab Emirates, UAE. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Human resource development, specifically workforce training and talent development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its outcomes are the main goals of this study. This research investigation has focused on selected aspects of public policy strategies for workforce and human capital development in the UAE. More specifically, this investigation is aiming to investigate the effectiveness of various UAE Scholarship Programmes on workforce development. The research addresses how human capital development strategies for UAE Nationals, with specific and primary reference to university scholarship programmes, have had positive impacts on the development of those Nationals who successfully completed their programme within the last decade. Additionally this study asks what correlations there might be between the scholarships’ specific skills enhancement and the nature of the work in which alumni are presently engaged; and in what ways UAE Nationals believe their careers have developed as a result of the successful completion of their university scholarship programme; also to what extent UAE Nationals believe they have been able to impact positively on the institutions and organisations they work for. And indeed how do those participants who took part in this study feel about improvement of such programme for scholarship winners in the future?

A mixed method design approach which integrated both quantitative and qualitative data was used. The quantitative data were collected through a survey, and qualitative data were collected from both the survey and through more in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions with both alumni and public sector managers. The sample of the present study comprises a total of 206 alumni of both genders with (a 78% response rate) who participated in this study; and additional sample of 33 alumni also included, as well as three public sector mangers who had in-depth interviews.

Using Kirkpatrick’s four level criteria of evaluation of alumni learning experience abroad. That is reactions and satisfaction, learning of the intended knowledge and skills, creation of behaviour change among participants and resulting in tangible impact on organisation as well employing other indicators which compared responses before 2006 and after 2006, the present research work indicated majority of participant’s alumni were very positive about their study experience aboard; participants claimed they have gained a wide range of skills and experience. Their future influence could include areas of high priority for development and leadership, including education, health and governance. Further results also showed that over 90% of alumni respondents have successfully completed their programmes of study; hence returned home and currently are working in the UAE. Majority of the participants also claimed that their programme contributed to international collaboration and partnerships.

Overall evaluation and main outcomes of this study did not offer tangible evidence that scholarships are having a significant impact on institutional performance. There was also no noticeable difference between those institutions which had received relatively larger numbers of scholarships (Management, Biology, Engineering and Computer Sciences), and those who had received few. However, further in-depth assessment of individual institutions might be necessary in future to elicit such evidence and/or relationship links.

Some results suggested that the scholarships offered by different ministries and departments will enable the transfer of skills and knowledge not only to individual award holders, but also to employers and relevant institutions.

Finally, the main findings of the study lead to a number of recommendations to better support not only the integration of scholars in their workplaces but also the achievement of effective workforce plan to achieve the objective of Emiratisation Scheme and strategic vision on this important field of study which has been acknowledged at all UAE governmental levels.

BarhamaAlAfifiZayedHassan_StrategiesAndPublicPolicyModels.pdf - Accepted Version

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