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Fredrick Owuoth

When did you join the Emirates Group and in what role?

I joined the company on 3 May 2013, as a Health, Safety and Environment Specialist. My focus is now exclusively on health and safety as a Workplace Health and Safety Specialist.

What does your role involve?

As an organisation, we are committed to protecting our customers, staff and assets through a ceaseless adherence to international and all other appropriate safety standards, and the adoption of practices which emphasise safety as a paramount personal responsibility. I’m involved in the development and rollout of health and safety programmes which contribute to this commitment.

Promotion of workplace health and safety policies related to the use of personal protective equipment, first aid, manual handling, working at heights and lone working is an important part of my role. I am also involved in promoting safety awareness campaigns such as working at heights and ensuring safe job set-up at Emirates Engineering through our Safety Promotion Centre in the hangar.

I deliver workplace health and safety induction for new employees at Emirates Engineering, Emirates Airport Services, contract personnel (Transguard) and UAE National apprentices.

I do frequent walk-arounds in buildings, offices, hangars, workshops, warehouses and other areas where health and safety hazards are highlighted. I follow-up on workplace hazard reports raised by employees in our safety reporting system. During safety awareness activities and training, I encourage colleagues to raise hazard reports so that incidents can be prevented.

My team and I investigate serious and potentially serious injuries or property damage events to determine their root cause, and I support line departments in their investigations. I liaise with business areas and colleagues in Group Safety to generate proposals and recommendations for preventing the recurrence of similar incidents.

By conducting follow-ups and regular safety inspections, I check if the findings raised in previous inspections have been closed and that the associated health and safety risks have been addressed.

I collaborate with line managers, contractors, technical, support and operational colleagues, as well as management teams to provide support and influence policies that favour safe workplaces. I also work with Engineering Aircraft Maintenance, Operations, and several safety action teams including those in Dubai Airports, Emirates SkyCargo and Emirates Airport Services.

What are the highlights of your career?

In January 2018, I received a Najm for my efforts in undertaking inspections for staff transportation outside of working hours. The results were used to improve safety for colleagues using staff transport. I also received a Najm in recognition of the support I provided Emirates Group Security (EGS) in conducting the required assessments to qualify for the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award, which EGS went on to win.

What do you love about your job?

I really enjoy my work because I learn something new every day, be it a technical, operational or functional aspect involving people or equipment, or life lessons that colleagues share with me.

My involvement in workplace inspections and safety risk reviews makes me feel like I contribute to safer workplaces for my colleagues wherever they are in the world.

What are some of the challenges you face on the job and how do you deal with them?

Reviewing outstation safety incidents can be a challenge. On-scene inspections and face-toface interviews are some of the key practices that we use to investigate an incident. So, when an outstation is involved, there are additional logistic and cost implications. We’ve developed a training programme for airport services managers (ASMs) to familiarise them with incident review processes. We deliver this training when ASMs travel to Dubai. I’ve always supported ASMs by phone and Skype to help with specific challenges, but since we implemented the training, we’ve had fewer support requests – which shows a positive impact.

I always use opportunities that are made available through Safety Action Group meetings, safety campaigns or consulting opportunities to promote awareness of successful safety initiatives and programmes with different teams. This has contributed to cost and time savings.

Can you share some tips on how to be safer at the workplace?

Health and safety hazards are present in our work environments and when we undertake certain work-related activities.

My advice to colleagues is always take a moment before carrying out any work activity and ask yourself if the activity could potentially cause harm to you, your colleagues or company equipment or property. If yes, you should take steps to prevent or mitigate the harm or damage.

A workplace hazard report (see groupworld box) should also be submitted so that the safety team can review your concerns and engage the relevant stakeholders or colleagues across business units to ensure that exposure to safety risks are prevented or minimised.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I enjoy going for walks around Al Nahda 2 Pond Park or Al Mamzar Beach. Walking by the water relaxes me and I enjoy being outdoors. It also keeps me fit.

I also love meeting my friends. I enjoy talking to people and learning new things or sharing their joys and challenges.

Jade Al Mulla

When did you join the Emirates Group and in what role?

I joined in 2011 as an HR Specialist in Recruitment. In those days, Talent Acquisition (TA) was called Central Recruitment. Over the years, I’ve worked in several teams such as Recruitment Operations, Volume Delivery and Onboarding.

What does your current role involve?

As a Talent Acquisition Manager for Customer Support, my team and I help schedule recruitment events around the globe every month to support our goal of attracting the best talent. Arranging these events is more than just booking banquet rooms, but also includes ensuring the safety and security of our team members and candidates, and contingency planning for unexpectedly large turnouts, disasters and other unpredictable situations. As an example, we once had to reschedule and relocate a recruitment event, as there was a fire at the venue. Not only did we have to find a new venue to host the event, but we had to work with the hotel to transport all of the assembled candidates to the new location.

We wouldn’t be able to do our job without leveraging the support of Procurement & Logistics, Finance and other areas of our business.

When I was interviewing for the role, I was asked why I wanted to work in the Talent Acquisition (TA) team, I replied, saying: “It sounds like a lot of fun.” While this response may have seemed simplistic, it’s ended up being true. It’s incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to engage with people who are so eager to join our organisation.

What are the highlights of your career?

During my time with the Group, I have seen the transformation of Central Recruitment to Talent Acquisition. During this period, we’ve expanded our function and grown to include Talent Identification, Talent Engagement and Onboarding. This provides a consistent end-to-end experience for our candidates and new employees, and helps us identify the best available talent.

It also increases the services we can offer to the business when they are looking to recruit new team members or identify existing talent opportunities. As the world of HR evolves, and we compete for a global workforce, I believe our roles will continue to evolve. Before moving to my current role, I worked in different teams which have all impacted my growth and experience. As a Team Leader for Volume Delivery, my team and I supported business units with high recruitment quotas. Typically, these roles (most often in Airport Operations, Customer Services and Call Centres) are urgently required by the business. Our job involved reviewing thousands of applications and assessing hundreds of candidates each month, so it was essential to keep a pool of candidates who were readily available to join.

The intensity of the workload taught me the importance of teamwork under pressure and keeping processes agile to meet unexpected requests. Then, as an HR Manager in Recruitment, I supported a number of different areas of the business, including Recruitment – Commercial and Onboarding.

Prior to this, I hadn’t realised how many systems, people and teams – both internal and external – are involved in bringing new joiners into our business. I enjoy working in a close-knit team, as it helps us share our experiences and grow collectively.

What are some of the challenges you face on the job and how do you deal with them?

For me, the biggest challenge is having so many ideas and deciding which ones take priority for action. All the ‘change’ projects taking place across the Group have sparked a plethora of creative opportunities which my team has really enjoyed. I’ve had to overcome the challenge of this additional workload by picking one project each month to focus on and commit time to without it affecting the other tactical functions I am tasked with.

If you weren’t in Talent Acquisition, what would you likely be doing?

I would love to be a workplace coach, as I find it interesting and rewarding. I’ve just completed my first course in the coaching programme offered by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

I am working on completing the next level as well as specialised ICF courses such as Team Coaching. These skills have been really helpful at work.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I love baking, and enjoy feeding people, especially my team. When I’m not baking, I do yoga and read books.

Neil Gabriah

When did you join the Emirates Group and in what role?

I joined in July 2003 as cabin crew.

What are the highlights of your career?

I was cabin crew for 11 years. In 2012, I was promoted to Purser and Cabin Service Trainer. In February 2015, I joined the Aircraft Development team in Service Delivery as a Cabin Interior Specialist. In April, I was selected to lead Service Delivery’s environment project that aims to reduce single-use plastic (SUP) and waste from onboard.

What does your role involve?

I have a dual role, as Environmental Lead – Service Delivery and Aircraft Development Specialist. In keeping with our company’s commitment to more environmentally-friendly operations, my primary role is to develop a sustainable approach to our product offering onboard our aircraft. It involves working and collaborating with various teams such as Product Development, Catering, Procurement and our suppliers to find ways to reduce waste and lower our SUP consumption. I provide Corporate Communications, Marketing & Brand information and updates for our environment and sustainability-related marketing campaigns. I’m also working closely with Environmental Affairs to assess the environmental and sustainability credentials of our supply chain for onboard products.

My work as an Aircraft Development Specialist involves collaborating with senior management, Engineering and aircraft manufacturers to ensure that Service Delivery’s requirements are incorporated into the design of cabins and galleys in our new aircraft, and delivered as planned. I also identify opportunities for improvements on our in-service fleet based on feedback from cabin crew, customers and senior managers. I draft updates related to the introduction of new cabins, galleys and modifications on our fleet for cabin crew.

Additionally, I assist in the development of cabin service training simulators and equipment at the Emirates Aviation College to ensure our cabin crew colleagues have a training environment that matches the interior of our Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s.

What do you love about your job?

Working for the biggest international airline in the world is a source of pride and motivation for me. We have a fleet of modern and efficient aircraft, and constantly innovate and push the boundaries. I’m also conscious about what we do at Emirates because we have a huge influence on the industry. For example, we’ve taken a leading role in incorporating sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices into our business, inspiring other airlines to follow suit.

What are some of the challenges you face on the job and how do you deal with them?

We are a big airline with a massive operation. Introducing new ways of doing things can be challenging given the scale of our business. Dealing with these changes requires an integrated approach that draws on the experience of our talented and skilled colleagues to ensure that all aspects are reviewed before introducing any changes

Tell us about the progress and challenges of removing SUPs onboard.

We’ve made substantial progress in the seven months since the project began. By early next year, we’ll see a reduction of more than 100 million SUP units from our onboard offering. This has been achieved through the removal or replacement of various items such as plastic straws, swizzle sticks, packaging for our toys and some plastic covers from meal trays. Empty plastic bottles are also being separated by the crew during flights and are sent for recycling in Dubai. More than three tonnes or about 150,000 bottles are being diverted from landfill in Dubai each month. This is just the beginning and there’s a lot more planned.

Nevertheless, changes have to be managed carefully given the size of our operation, hygiene considerations, the impact of alternatives on aircraft weight and fuel burn, challenges with using certain replacements for SUP, the lack of adequate infrastructure for recycling, laws related to the disposal of cabin and galley waste and the growing list of countries banning various SUP plastic items.

It’s also important to recognise that using plastic responsibly is the key. Plastic is a lightweight material and it has many uses, including keeping things fresh and clean. As it is relatively inexpensive to make and is available in abundance, it has been taken for granted and this has contributed to the growth of a throwaway culture. Reusing it whenever possible is very important and, if that is not an option, it has to be disposed of correctly.

Introducing alternatives such as bio-based and biodegradable plastic may seem like a good idea, but these products have to be sent to special facilities to ensure they pose no harm to the environment after they have been used. At the moment, this kind of infrastructure is not available in many parts of the world, including here in the UAE.

Tell us about a memorable incident on the job.

Visiting the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington, USA, and the Airbus Delivery Centre in Hamburg, Germany, have to be the highlights of my career so far.

Why did you pursue a career in this field?

I love everything related to aviation. To this day, I’m amazed at the feat of engineering that helps an aircraft fly. My interest also stems from my family’s involvement in the industry. My grandfather, mum and other relatives worked for various airlines. When I was young, my dad used to take me for air shows back home in Kenya. I remember flying on a classic Dakota DC-3 aircraft during my first air show visit; it was the most exciting experience and sparked my love for aviation.

What do you do to de-stress after work?

I enjoy reading and sports. I have been a Liverpool FC supporter since the age of four and I try to watch their games whenever I get a chance. I love maps and am pretty good at naming the capital cities of many countries.

Roshan Menon

When did you join the Group and in what role?

I joined the Emirates Group in September 2001, as a Senior Transport Services Assistant. Within a year and a half, I got promoted, becoming the youngest duty officer within the Group. In 2012, I joined the Quality Assurance and Safety formation team. By 2014, I took over as the team leader, and in 2018, I was promoted to my current role as head of the business unit, which includes projects.

What does your role involve?

Primarily, I’m a principal auditor in various quality and safety management disciplines that help drive the department’s objective for continual improvement. To gain greater efficiencies, most of my tasks revolve around process management, conducting audits and inspections — ensuring we do what we say we will, in a safe, organised and coherent manner. I have to continually review our legal compliance, interact with various stakeholders across different operating environments, and engage with our contracted providers regularly.

role also involves working with the team that conducts incident investigations to help identify the cause, and make recommendations to remedy any issues we uncover. Dynamic risk assessments not only help manage threats that could impact the level of safety or comfort that we offer our customers, but also safeguard our workforce in all sorts of eventualities.

What do you love about your job?

I love and enjoy my role as it covers a spectrum of activities. It requires me to be creatively disruptive and think outside the box. Due to the challenges raised by COVID-19, the team has been pared down, making it very challenging to hold the fort while continuing the required work flow. However, I continue to work through chaotic schedules and look to task automation to achieve more output.

I’m also a Go Team Family Assistance Manager with emcare and the Emirates Group Lead for the Dubai Chamber Road Safety networking group.

What are the challenges you face at work, particularly during the pandemic?

COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented change not only in the workplace, but also in our everyday life and behaviour. As people react to change in different ways, some of the challenges at work include worker complacency to safety instructions and poor inter-colleague engagement. At every opportunity, I look at saving costs without compromising on safe practices. Getting the contractors to consistently maintain higher levels of service and safety can only be achieved with stringent review of processes and monitoring. I’ve stepped up my inspections and also engaged our internal customers to be my ‘eyes’ in the field.

What are the highlights of your career?

I am thankful for the multiple Najms I’ve received. Additionally, there have been enriching experiences with customers, especially with those affected during the EK521 incident. Their feedback of my support has been very rewarding. I’ve successfully helped the department get certified in the latest quality and safety management system standards, much earlier than industry requirements. Transport Services has also been recognised in the Dubai Chamber Year of Zayed publication for its exceptional efforts in reducing accidents.

We won six awards at the recent RoSPA Health & Safety Awards 2020, making it a first for an airline transport department to do so in its first attempt. I was also awarded the RoSPA Influencer Award for making the biggest impact in health and safety at work or in the community.

Tell us about any interesting incidents that have occurred on the job.

Some of the memorable incidents include driving our flight crew to work when the contracted drivers went on a mass strike, and completing my MBA while balancing my studies with shift duties — I remember sleeping and studying in my car on some days just to save time.

How do you de-stress after work?

I love water sports. As a trained lifeguard, swimming is my favourite, which is on pause with the onset of COVID-19. I’m currently pursuing my love for music as a DJ. On some days, I just relax with a good book or catch up with friends.

Syed Mohammed Ali

When did you join the Emirates Group?

I joined on 7 April 2003 as a check-in agent with Emirates Airport Services (EKAS). Since then, I’ve worked in several roles, including as a check-in agent for First and Business Class, hub control coordinator, admin coordinator, HR coordinator for EKAS, HR officer for EKAS and SkyCargo, and HR manager (Outstations).

In January 2017, I moved to dnata as a department officer at Terminal 2 in DXB.

What does your current role involve?

I direct and control all the activities within Customer Services on shift at Terminal 2. I act as a point of contact for key stakeholders and keep them updated on department activities.

I plan resources, making sure that we have the people and equipment that we need, and that we use these resources as efficiently as possible.

My aim is to ensure we consistently offer service excellence and contribute to safe ontime performance.

What are the highlights of your career?

I have been appreciated for my work on several occasions, and have been awarded two Gold, one Silver, two Bronze, five Merit and 16 Appreciation Najms. Each award is special to me.

What do you love about your job?

I love my job because I work with a team of professionals dedicated to providing the best service to our customers.

Every day is different, with new challenges, but we overcome them together as one team. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I am up against a tight deadline and still achieve good results.

My shift managers and line manager appreciate my work ethic and support my development to help me perform better.

What are some of the challenges you face on the job and how do you deal with them?

Since we run one of the busiest airports in the world, I face many challenges at work such as allocating people and equipment, and ensuring we consistently achieve on-time performance with safety as a priority.

Communicating with stakeholders and assisting airlines in dealing with disruptive passengers is also challenging.

In my view, planning, organisation and collaboration are the essential elements to overcome any challenge.

Tell us about some memorable incidents that have taken place at work.

A recent incident, and one of my most memorable, was when my colleague and I used first-aid training to save a child who had lost consciousness.

The incident took place at one of the boarding gates at DWC. My colleague and I were present at the scene and heard the parents screaming for help.

We rushed to assist them and were able to revive the child before the Airport Medical team arrived. The parents were very grateful for our help. I received a Silver Najm for my efforts. I am proud of how we handled the situation, and would like to thank the management for providing us with first-aid training, as it helped us take the necessary measures confidently.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I like to jog and exercise to keep myself fit. Since Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, I enjoy sampling new types of food at restaurants across the city. I also enjoy swimming and watching movies on my days off.

Tendai Mubwanda

When did you join the Group?

I joined Emirates Engineering on 2 March 2015, as a Senior Paint Hall Mechanic at the Aircraft Appearance Centre. I worked in the paint shop for the first six months before moving to the aircraft paint hangar.

What does your role involve?

I carry out the full repainting process, and am proud to give our aircraft’s appearance a new lease of life. Painting is a complex process which involves a lot of preparation before, during and after stripping off the old paint — all before the application of new paint.

As a paint mechanic, it’s my duty to ensure that all my colleagues work safely, as our job entails working at heights and handling harmful chemicals. Personal safety, as well as aircraft and equipment safety, are priorities in the paint hangar.

What do you love about your job?

I gain immense satisfaction at the end of each project, as the aircraft is released back into service after a ‘full body’ makeover. We also do special liveries and decals for our fleet and it gives me a lot of pleasure to see our work attract attention and appreciation from customers around the world.

What challenges do you face at work?

Working on third party aircraft comes with its challenges. The livery requirements and paint schemes vary from what we normally do. Every task has to be checked thoroughly to ensure we meet the customer’s requirements. There is no margin for error. The solution is to always refer to maintenance documents, ask for assistance whenever you are in doubt and have another pair of eyes inspect your work.

I’m the only woman on the team and this initially came with its own share of trials. In my first year I worked extra hard to prove myself, and felt a duty to set a precedent for other women to join the team in the future. I’ve since discovered that I’m part of an incredible and supportive team, and this is quite humbling.

Has the current situation brought about changes to your job?

Wearing personal protective equipment is part of our job — it protects us from toxic chemicals and we are used to it. Yet COVID-19 has deeply affected the aviation industry. We often have longer breaks between projects now, so we support other departments in Engineering that need extra hands. This brings new challenges, but also a deeper appreciation of other trades and the wider Engineering division.

I’ve learned the importance of being versatile and adapting to new needs, and it has been an interesting and enriching experience.

Tell us about some of the highlights of your career.

The top one has to be when we repainted our first A380 in-house. It was a mammoth task painting the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Being a part of the team that achieved this milestone in aviation history was truly memorable.

Apart from painting aircraft, the Aircraft Appearance Centre also installs livery decals on our fleet. The unveiling of the United for Wildlife livery and the media frenzy it attracted was a major highlight for me. It was so fulfilling to read comments left on social media platforms, knowing that I was part of that team that made it happen to drive awareness for this important cause.

What made you choose this career?

Growing up I was always curious and fascinated by aircraft. When I was younger, I wanted to be cabin crew, but as I grew older my fascination shifted to the engineering aspect of aviation. When the opportunity presented itself, I realised there aren’t many women who specialise in aircraft painting. In fact, it turned out there weren’t any trained female aircraft painters in my country, Zimbabwe, so I figured why not become the first registered female aircraft painter? I trained for it and have enjoyed every bit of my journey so far.

What do you do to de-stress after work?

I enjoy spending my time watching soap operas and documentaries, reading a good book or listening to music to help me unwind. I also love travelling.

Violet Vuguza Anyonge

When did you join the Emirates Group?

I joined Emirates in 2008 as an induction and support manager looking after the Induction and Cabin Crew Training (CCT) administration team.

As the business grew, the role was split and I now look after CCT as the Training Manager – Induction.

What does your role involve?

I manage a team of full-time Induction Specialists and part-time trainers, and as a team we...

  • welcome every new joiner, both cabin and flight crew. Last year, we inducted 2,563 cabin crew and 379 pilots into the Emirates family.
  • support and guide new joiners to ensure they have a hassle-free induction and seamless transition when they move to Dubai, and join us.
  • work closely with our colleagues in Training (across all disciplines) in supporting and guiding new joiners to ensure they set themselves up for success and meet our high standards.
  • manage Service Delivery’s full-day My Service Personality training programme.
  • support our colleagues in Commercial, and Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand, by hosting tours at our crew training facility at Emirates Aviation College, for media, travel agents and VIPs. Last year, we hosted 715 visitors on 57 tours.

What are the highlights of your career so far?

When I joined in 2008, we had 10,000 cabin crew. Today, we have almost 22,000. Our cabin crew come from all over the world and bring with them amazing backgrounds and skills. Welcoming these individuals to our organisation is certainly a highlight.

I’ve helped implement several productive initiatives, which have either helped to save costs, or improved the employee experience – or both! One example was streamlining the week-long induction period for pilots and cutting it down by half. We saved time and money by doing so, but haven’t compromised on the quality of the training.

We discontinued hard copies of the Employee Regulations Manual for new joiners, as it was available on groupworld. This resulted in a saving of around Dhs450,000 a year, and it’s now much easier to maintain and communicate updates. I implemented a cabin crew ab initio meet and greet on arrival at the airport to welcome new joiners, and received a Najm for offering 24-hour support to new colleagues when they moved into our Sarab buildings (crew accommodation).

Organising a visit for Dubai Expo 2020 delegates to the Emirates Aviation College was also a great experience. We received a letter of praise from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Management for how well it was organised.

Why did you get into this field?

I worked for a hospitality chain for 15 years before joining Emirates. I believe that effective development and performance management is crucial for the success of any business.

I get great satisfaction in supporting individuals to be the best they can be, which is why I gravitated toward a career in training and development.

My experience in hospitality has taught me the importance of excellent customer service. I’m happy I can bring this knowledge and philosophy to my internal customers, including our cabin crew and flight crew.

Are there any new training programmes the team is launching for newly joined crew?

We’re constantly updating and enhancing our courses. Last year, we partnered with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding to offer crew a deeper understanding of Emirati culture and working in the UAE.

Feedback from the ab initio is that this tour is the highlight of their training and has been an eye opener for them in understanding and appreciating Arab cultures.

What do you love about your job?

I enjoy the fact that no two days are the same, as we are in an operational environment. It’s also great to see that as a team, CCT has a positive impact on the new joiners during their initial days with Emirates.

It’s wonderful to see crew come into the office after a couple of months of flying to say hello and thank us for the support we gave them when they joined Emirates.

It is very satisfying knowing that our new cabin crew feel confident and well equipped for the journey ahead of them. It’s also very encouraging knowing that they are ready for all the opportunities, growth and personal development that will be available to them in the years ahead, and over the course of their career with us.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I love to cook and try out new dishes and cuisines. I also keep myself busy by making bead jewellery. When the weather is good, I enjoy going for long walks on the beach.