Emirates NBD launches ‘National Digital Talent Program’ to support UAE’s ambition to be a leader in Artificial Intelligence by 2031

  • Program to nurture a pool of future-ready interns by 2025
  • Partners include Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and University of Sharjah (UoS)
  • Includes internship and talent bridge with Coders HQ aimed at building strong digital skill base for young Emiratis
  • Reflects the bank’s commitment to support UAE’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031

Dubai, UAE: The Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office  along with Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region, has launched a first of its kind ‘National Digital Talent Program’, as part of ongoing efforts to support UAE government’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031which aims at developing a world-class national workforce proficient in AI and related technologies.

With the aim to nurture a pool of UAE interns over the course of the next four years, the banking group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with partners including Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and University of Sharjah (UoS). The joint initiative will contribute to building and growing local digital talent by providing the necessary resources and equipping young UAE nationals with critical skills and practical knowledge needed to flourish in the field of digital and information technologies including Artificial Intelligence, ultimately contributing to priority sectors of the national digital economy.

A high percentage of the UAE student population is pursuing core STEM areas including Information Communication Technology (ICT), Engineering, and Natural Sciences. This presents a good opportunity to upskill STEM graduates by applying the skills they have learned, into real-life work experiences with experts in the industry, providing a stronger pool of UAE talent able to build the next era of technology solutions primarily, Artificial Intelligence. Emirates NBD, through its new talent program aims to nurture and develop young Emiratis, making them future-ready to support the digital economy, while bridging academia and industry.

Omar Al Olama: equipping Emiratis with advanced knowledge to build an innovative future

H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, affirmed the UAE’s keenness to prepare future generations, building their capabilities, and equipping them with advanced knowledge, enabling them to contribute un the UAE Government mission in building an innovative future, enhancing its global status. Adding that ensuring qualified digital talent is a responsibility that falls on all sectors in the UAE, which will support national efforts in building a strong digital economy.

H.E Added that the UAE government is committed to supporting programs and initiatives that develop national talent akin to the industry level. Emirates NBD sets a great example of developing local skills to the industry standard and leading positive efforts in the banking sector to develop talented nationals by enabling them to learn, train and enhance their readiness to work in various industries and raise the level of our digital economy.

H.E further said that providing the necessary resources and equipping young nationals’ digital talents with the critical skills and practical knowledge is a key priority to flourish in the field of digital and information technologies, especially; Artificial Intelligence, ultimately contributing to priority sectors of the national digital economy.

Internship stream:

Through its partnership with Higher Colleges of Technology and University of Sharjah, Emirates NBD will offer internship opportunities for UAE national students to shape their future and create a stronger talent pipeline to support the bank’s Digital and Information Technology departments. The paid internships will provide undergraduate students an exposure to the latest technologies and innovations in the financial services industry and directly learn from its digital transformation leaders in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Open Banking, Robotics, Platforms, FinTech and Security. They would also have an opportunity to gain valuable experience in solving financial technology challenges as capstone projects, which they would showcase at internal and external platforms such as Coders HQ, part of the National Program for Coders initiatives.

Talent bridge with Coders HQ:

Emirates NBD will also support the Coders HQ’s mission to create the highest number of coders per capita and attract global talent to set up their base in the UAE. For this mission, the bank will provide more than 20 real-world business challenges through structured events including coding hackathons, design and test hacks, and deliver at least 40 curated learning interventions through their best-in-class Digital and Information Technology leaders. These initiatives will be available internationally, creating a truly unique bridge for the coding talent in UAE and across the globe, to solve industry challenges and interact with Emirates NBD leaders.

Commenting on the launch, Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer, Emirates NBD said: “We are extremely pleased to support the UAE’s mission to become one of the world leaders in Artificial Intelligence by 2031. As a leading regional bank and a pioneer in the digital services industry, we are confident that in partnership with Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office and prestigious institutions such as Higher Colleges of Technology and University of Sharjah, we can help develop the digital capabilities of young UAE talent, who form the future of the nation and will contribute to building an agile, future-proof economy.”

He added, “As a bank that has always championed innovation and is a leader in digital banking, we are committed to catalysing the digital capabilities of our future workforce and will continue to invest in building the national digital economy.”

Over the years, Emirates NBD Group has launched a number of development and training programs specifically for Emiratis, as a part of its commitment to UAE talent development. Last year, the bank had also partnered with the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office to support the National Program for Coders, the largest ever UAE initiative to foster the development of coding talent in the country. The bank also launched a new and exclusive graduate program called “Ruwad”, to propel young Emiratis into leadership roles. The program was the first of many initiatives to be introduced in response to the government’s federal NAFIS program and also the largest investment the bank has ever made in a single talent management program.


His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah (UoS) said, “UoS is proud to partner with Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office and Emirates NBD to support this pioneering initiative which is closely aligned with the country’s ambition to empower local digital talent. With technology at the core of almost everything we do today, AI and related technologies have become increasingly important and sought after making them an essential skill for young minds to learn at an early age. We are happy to offer our undergraduate students the opportunity to intern with a prestigious bank such as Emirates NBD, where they will gain rich experience and exposure. Being a leading university in computer science and the first in the region to offer a Master’s degree in this field, we look forward to supporting the program, cultivating and developing young AI programmers.”

About Emirates NBD

Emirates NBD (DFM: Emirates NBD) is a leading banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) region with a presence in 13 countries, serving over 14 million customers. As at 31st March 2022, total assets were AED 694 billion, (equivalent to approx. USD 189 billion). The Group has operations in the UAE, Egypt, India, Turkey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Russia and Bahrain and representative offices in China and Indonesia with a total of 901 branches and 4,060 ATMs / SDMs.

Emirates NBD Group serves customers, businesses, governments and institutions with a range of financial products and services including retail banking, corporate and institutional banking, Islamic banking, investment banking, private banking, asset management, global markets and treasury, and brokerage operations.

The Group is a key participant in the global digital banking industry with 94% of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its branches. The Group also operates E20., a digital business bank for entrepreneurs and SMEs and Liv., the lifestyle digital bank for millennials. Emirates NBD is an active participant and supporter of the UAE’s main development and sustainability initiatives, including financial literacy and the inclusion of people with disabilities. Emirates NBD Group is a Premier Partner and the Official Banking Partner for Expo 2020 Dubai.