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Pioneering Internal Audit Training Programme Celebrates First Cohort of Emirati Graduates

The first graduates of the world’s pioneering Internal Auditing training programme were honoured at the recent graduation ceremony at the Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi.

The 15 students, consisting of three men and 12 women, have successfully completed the three-month, intensive HASAAD training course. HASAAD is a training and development programme aimed at young UAE National graduates. It is aligned with Absher, an initiative launched by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

The HASAAD Program is designed to train UAE National graduates who are interested in specialising in the field of Internal Audit. The strategic partners who have developed, managed and delivered the programme are the UAE Internal Audit Association (UAE IAA), the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Protiviti, Powers Resource Corporation and Coaches 4 Good.

The successful graduates studied a wide range of topics relevant to Internal Auditing in the region including the theory of IA, IA case studies, engaging and working with industry partners, presentation, interview and negotiation skills, Parts 1 &2 of the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) qualification and personalized mentoring and coaching from the UAE IAA.

His Excellency Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi, Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said at the graduation ceremony: “It is pleasing to see that HCT and the UAE IAA have acted upon the UAE Government’s directives for more Emiratis to be trained in specialised sectors, such as the growing field of Internal Audit and we are all very pleased for this first cohort of graduates who will be able to develop important careers in this sector where Emiratisation stood at only 10 percent.”

“There is a vital need for the UAE to have more trained auditors in the areas of corporate governance and to encourage more UAE Nationals into the field of internal auditing. This ceremony will be a watershed for the industry as it is meeting those human capital needs; reinforces the UAE Vision 2021, which states that universities will listen closely to the needs of Emiratis and their future employers,” he added.

Mr AbdulQader Obaid Ali, President of UAE Internal Audit Association, said that following HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-president, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai’s approval of federal Government Internal Auditing and Methodology, HASAAD will definitely be the number one programme for providing UAE nationals with the skills and training needed for advancing their careers in the much-needed field of Internal Audit.

“HASAAD is unique being the first of its kind globally, as it will be the primary programme for training National internal auditors in the UAE. It will provide the UAE with a continuous supply of talented Emiratis who have been given the tools and skills-set required to meet the industry’s needs in this highly specialised field of corporate governance and operation,” Protiviti Managing Director, Arindam De said.

Arindam De added that the graduation of the IA experts will be an auspicious day for the UAE’s business sector, as particularly the Internal Auditing community.

The graduates unanimously agreed that the intensive course, which mixed theory and real-life industry experiences, was highly beneficial for their future careers. “This is my dream and I am so interested in internal auditing and I really like investigating things,” Amal Abdullatif Al Khoori, 24, said.

“This is the beginning of our future careers as auditors and this course will help us to know more about our profession of internal auditing. This gives us the opportunity to know more about auditing and to go to the next level of our careers,” she added.

“It is a very challenging job but I am proud to be a role model for other Emiratis, as there are very few Nationals in this field. We can show others, the companies and the UAE that we can do these jobs that we are very capable of doing. I hope it will be a sign of motivation for others to follow us and doing the course,” Amal said.

Mariam Jasim Mehairbi, 27, of Zadco, was a coordinator in the Internal Audit department of her employer and seeing her colleagues undertake internal audits sparked an interest in the course.

“I can see how internal auditors add value to their organisations and doing the job would make me feel satisfied about what I can do to help. I hope that people see what I am doing and they understand that there are right ways to do things,” she said.

“I am very proud to be a graduate of this course and we are role models for motivating other people to follow us,” Mariam added.

Yassmin Al Afeefi, 27, who has a Business IT qualification, was able to gain some information about internal auditing from her brother who worked in the field in the banking industry. “He said if I proceed in this direction I will really progress in my career. He was very encouraging,” she said.

During the course she also got married, which presented a challenge to convince her new husband of the course’s merits. “My husband did not know much about internal auditing but when I told him the value adding it does to companies he said it is adding value to us all.”

Waleed Mohamed Omar Al Hadhrani was working in the field of IA before undertaking the course. “The course has been really good and it has been beyond my expectations. At first I thought it would be about theory but the interactions and work with industry experts was wonderful. I would love to be able to help future students in this course,” he said.

Hussain Al Awlaqi from the National Drilling Company also comes from an internal auditing position at his employer and said he benefitted from the mix of theory and real life experience and knowledge from industry experts.

“I feel very comfortable in my job now and at first I thought this job was very hard but now I have greater knowledge to succeed after this course. I look forward to helping future students in the course and help to improve the next group of students and motivate them,” he said.

Hamad Hamid Al Ali, from Mubadala, was looking for a course to help him gain his Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) qualification to add to his Accounting degree when he heard about the course.

“I really enjoyed it and the industry interactions and real case studies helped us to deal with real world issues and problems. I have learnt so much and I think I have improved in my knowledge by about 50%.

“I am sure that I want to be an internal auditor for the rest of my career. I want to do this for the next 40 years and to become the most qualified I can be. There is no limit.

The training programme came about as a result of a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) being signed between the parties in November 2014, which was signed by His Excellency Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi, Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology and Mr Abdul Qader Obaid Ali, President of the UAE IAA.

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