News Nationalisation drive urged by HR expert November 2003 166 Al Khaja. Tourism and hospitality leaders in the UAE have been urged to spearhead a nationalisation drive in their industry by a human resources expert, who cited the 0.2 per cent rate of Emirati participation in the sector as a serious cause for concern. Abdulqader al Khaja, CEO of the Dubai-based training and learning consultancy knowledgenetwork (knet), was addressing the Dubai chapter of Skal, the international organisation of tourism leaders.He said: “We all have a responsibility to pave the way for nationalisation, and industry leaders need to pave the way for a drive to increase the participation of nationals in the workforce.“The UAE tourism sector faces challenging times in this regard, not least because nationals currently make up only 0.2 per cent of the workforce. This is a serious cause for concern, not least because nationals are naturally suited as the face of a country’s hospitality sector.“By 2006, there will be another 150,000 nationals entering looking for employment - increasing the size of the total workforce by 20 per cent. So, if we are to absorb these numbers, we must invest in customised training to take the needs of both the employer and the job-seeker into account.”Al Khaja pointed out that women are a largely untapped resource for employment, and the rate of unemployment for UAE national women is the highest among all groups in the UAE labour market at 8.3 per cent.He added: “Tourism and hospitality sector can lead a nationalisation drive. But the drive requires investment and commitment.