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Focus on Inclusivity: Middlesex University Dubai takes ‘Inclusive Pathways to Employment’ to another level during the Fourth Inclusivity Colloquium

  • Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Middlesex University Dubai’s Centre for Academic Success in partnership with The Butterfly and Siemens Energy Middle East was very proud to host the Fourth Colloquium on Inclusivity on Tuesday 6th December 2022, hosted at our Dubai Knowledge Park campus alongside an audience of over 80 guests, including press, students, staff, and members of the public. 


The chosen topic, ‘Inclusive Pathways to Employment: Empowering Student Transition into the Workplace’ has been an important focus for Middlesex University Dubai for some time, particularly with the formation of our Centre for Academic Success: a unique department dedicated to providing additional guidance from specialist staff and counsellors, with confidential learning disability support for our students of determination. 


Our Head of the Centre of Academic Success, Faiza Umar, said: “It is very important for us as a university to ensure that our Students of Determination feel supported not only in their academic journey at the university but also in their transition into the workplace. For this reason, we have been liaising with future employers and advocacy agencies to offer placements that ensure equality of opportunity. 


Currently, many of our SODs are interning with organisations and some have had offers for full-time placement upon graduation. Societal barriers can only be removed when all stakeholders work together to champion inclusion, and we have a deep commitment to facilitating this at our campus and within the wider community.”


During the Colloquium, we were privileged to hear from a panel of key industry speakers comprising of Dr Florian Koemm, Vice President and General Counsel at Siemens Energy Middle East; Marilena Di Coste, Founder and CEO of The Butterfly, an advocacy agency that supports the transition of students of determination into employability; Zainab Rehman, Middlesex University Dubai Alumni and former student of determination; and our very own Dr Lynda Hyland, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Head of the Careers and Employability Department at MDX. 


Ms Marilena said: “In the last 10 years we’ve seen such a change and it’s really exciting to be working in the disability field at this moment in time. We have the new anti-discriminatory law [that was] issued in February 2022, we have the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024… there is so much going on and the thing that is really significant is the involvement of all the community and stakeholders in making these changes.”


Dr Koemm added: “If you engage, and if you drive the topic, there will be change. I would say there is currently not enough change, but it’s a start, and this is a marathon not a sprint.


With plenty of participation and questions from the audience, we were able to hear a wide range of perspectives on the subject, including from some faculty and students at MDX who have been personally involved in shaping the inclusivity initiatives we have in place at the university, all with the main goal of creating opportunity for future careers paths and education. 


Following the event, Dr Lynda Hyland gave her thoughts on the strategic moves being made to take us towards better support and inclusivity in the workplace from the team at MDX: 


It was heartening to see such dedication to inclusivity among colloquium panellists and audience members, many of whom shared their personal stories. The discussion highlighted how industry and higher education must collaborate to forge a more inclusive employment ecosystem. I am proud that Middlesex University Dubai is working with organisations such as The Butterfly and Siemens Energy to change mindsets and secure better opportunities and working conditions for people of determination.”  


Middlesex Alumni are always passionate about sharing their experience of studying with MDX, and this topic specifically resonated with many, including Ms Zainab, who studied Psychology and Human Resource Management and now works in HR. She spoke of her lived experience navigating the transition from university to the workplace from the perspective of a person of determination and shone an illuminating light on some obstacles that she encountered along the way. 


This event was the fourth in our series, highlighting the University’s strategic goals and visions around the topic of inclusion. The series was developed in order to bring diverse groups of people together in a safe space for honest conversation surrounding inclusivity policies and practices at all levels across the UAE education sector. 


Middlesex University Dubai is a key driver of inclusivity in the region and beyond, and understands each student is an individual and success is vast across the broad range of students that make up our 4,500 strong student community. To find out more, visit www.mdx.ac.ae/cas.

 

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