Robert Uy The luxury bed tester At the Burj Al Arab The rich and famous who visit Dubai like to make sure they get a perfect night’s sleep – the jet-set lifestyle is tiring work – and Robert Uy has the job of making sure that every bed in the Burj Al Arab guarantees sweet dreams. As far as we can see that means he gets to lie down for a living. ‘Part of my job is making sure that all the beds are exactly as the customer desires. They have it as firm as they like and choose pillows too.’
Uy was recruited from the Philippines as a housekeeping attendant and is now the housekeeping manager at the landmark hotel. Uy takes great pride in his work and ensures that the bespoke beds at the Burj are made just right. ‘We have a Duxiana bed and they are custom-made for the Burj Al Arab. They have a Paskal system with cassettes, which allows us to personalise the beds.’
So what is the bed tester actually checking for? ‘Before the room attendants go in to make up the room, I make sure that the bed is soft on the head, medium on the body and that the legs side is firm – this is to ensure that when guests sleep they won’t feel any back pain.’
Uy gives the thumbs up on every bed that’s made, and it takes him about 15 minutes to ensure they’re made to request, no matter how bizarre. ‘We had one where the guest wanted us to remove our shoes while we cleaned the suite, and wear slippers. And his bed sheets had to be ironed on the bed – not before.’ Uy might test all the beds at Burj Al Arab but still wishes for a Duxiana of his own. ‘The Duxiana was mentioned in the film Law Abiding Citizen, when a prisoner asks for one in his cell. I’d really like to have one, but not in a prison’. www.jumeirah.com What you need: Patience and attention to detail.
Where to get training: If you think you know a well-made bed when you lie on it, consider a career in hospitality. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management offers professional courses. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, Umm Suqeim 3, www.emiratesacademy.edu (04 315 5555).
Captain Andy Kennedy The high-flying pilot at Seawings ‘I never get bored looking at Dubai from 2,000 feet,’ beams senior pilot Captain Andy Kennedy as he steps out of the cockpit and onto the floating jetty at JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort. ‘The most satisfying thing is flying the aircraft to a high standard; it’s like making pizza – you know when you’ve done it right because there are smiles around the table.’
Captain Andy gets a unique birds’ eye view of the city every day, and he gets to share that with the dozens of tourists he takes on seaplane tours. ‘The job itself is something I never dreamed off, and flying seaplanes is even better than an airline job because you interact with your passengers and your environment.’
The pilot initially wanted to be in the army, but was persuaded by his father to consider a different path. The pilot now sees his career as a way to combine his passions. ‘I love being on the sea, seeing nature, seeing the world as well as being involved with people.’
The high-flying captain has flown all over the world, and taken many celebrities and VIPs on tours, including Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brazilian footballer Kaka. ‘I have no complaints and I think as long as you’re passionate about what you do in Dubai then you should be happy doing it.’ www.seawings.ae What you need: To be a seaplane pilot you need a basic pilot’s licence and flying skills, and to attend training for seaplane flying in Canada, Australia, America or Europe to acquire the additional rating. Where you can get training: If you have a head for heights try the iPilot Flight Simulator Experience in The Dubai Mall and experience flying a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A380 with a qualified pilot instructor. Dhs349 for a 15-minute flight experience. www.flyipilot.ae (056 738 7444).
Gregg Campbell The professional jumper at Bounce Dubai ‘I think I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world, not just in Dubai. I’m so passionate about it – I’ve moved across the other side of the world for it’. Gregg Campbell reaches new heights at work every day as the experience manager at Bounce Dubai, the city’s first trampoline and free jumping centre. ‘The best part of my job is that if I’m having a rough day – and everyone has them in a job – I have 80 trampolines downstairs that I can jump on, and that makes me feel better. It’s like having a playground at work.’
Campbell’s day is full of variety, from training staff to planning events. He also ensures that guests enjoy the centre in the safest and fullest way possible. ‘We’re all trained and I’m trained in senior first aid, defibrillator training and anaphylactic training. We don’t want to see any injuries but we’re prepared if it happens.’
Campbell was asked by the owners of Bounce Dubai to join the team in the UAE while he was living in Australia. ‘I was doing flying trapeze in Melbourne and one of my friends told me about a new trampoline park. I remember thinking ‘wow this is going to take off’, and I took a risk, quit my old job and started at Bounce – and it’s paid off.’
He adds, ‘99.9 percent of people will leave Bounce feeling awesome. You can’t beat coming to a job where you make people feel good every day.’ www.bounce.ae
What you need: A friendly personality and boundless energy. Where to get training: To work on your flips and somersaults join DuGym Gymnastics Club. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session. www.dugym.com.
Sean Parker The dolphin trainer at Atlantis The Palm Swimming with dolphins at Atlantis usually ranks highly on Dubai ‘to-do lists’, and for Sean Parker interacting with and training the majestic mammals at Atlantis is an everyday occurrence that he doesn’t take for granted. ‘I get to play and build relationships with the dolphins and I’m out in the fresh air all day, interacting with people from all around the world. There has never been a Plan B – this is what my goal has always been. No office job for me, thank you.’
Parker, associate director of marine mammal operations, has worked with birds and wild animals in the bush of South Africa, yet finds that the ability to really interact with the animals here is one of the perks. ‘We have to work so closely with the dolphins, and we’re able to share this incredible relationship with our guests, which hopefully inspires them when they go back to their home countries to take better care of the environment and be more conscious of their impact on the planet.’
Parker really gets his hands dirty (or should we say wet) as he not only trains the mammals but also plans the day’s events and assists the trainers with husbandry and behavioural training. ‘Every day is different because the animals are so individual; they have different characters so you’re meeting a different perspective every day. The only difficulty I encounter is the Dubai summer. Having to be outdoors in 46˚C heat is pretty uncomfortable.’ www.atlantisthepalm.com
What do you need: An animal or marine behaviour degree, as well as genuine love and respect for wildlife and conservation.
Where to get training: UAE University, Al Ain offers a Bachelor of Science in Marine Fisheries and Animal Science, which should set you on the path to a career working with animals. United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, www.uaeu.ac.ae (04 713 4564).
Jalel Ghayaza The artisan chocolate maker at Delice ‘I have no choice but to eat chocolate every day,’ exclaims Jalel Ghayaza, who started his bespoke chocolate brand with just a Dhs100,000 bank loan. ‘I can’t eat 20 chocolates a day, but I do quality checks daily’.
When he’s not sampling the pretty treats that are made in his 70 sq m factory in Deira, the Tunisian businessman is travelling the world sourcing the best ingredients for his chocolates. ‘We pride ourselves on the quality of the product and the best raw ingredients. We have Iranian pistachios, hazelnuts from Turkey, almonds from Tunisia, American walnuts. I buy them all once a year.’
When he’s back from his whirlwind shopping trips, Ghayaza gets back into the office, working with his producers and brand managers to create new chocolates, and attractive packaging. ‘My strategy is innovation. Every week or two we have something new.’
The brand is now expanding across the world and has recently opened a concession in luxury department store Harrods in London. And just as varied as his chocolates, Ghayaza’s daily schedule is a tantilising assortment of activity. ‘There’s no typical day for me. I travel three days a week. I just got back from Bahrain to open the new Delice, and I’m off to London to oversee the Harrods concession, and then to Baku, Azerbaijan for our next franchise.’
Does the chocolate making CEO have a sweet tooth? ‘Of course! Especially for my chocolates.’ www.delice-dubai.com
What do you need: An eye for innovation, knowledge of the food market and current trends in food and confectionary.
Super-cool jobs around the world Outback Adventurer, Tourism Australia Allan Dixon from Ireland beat thousands of global applicants to bag one of Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Jobs in the World’. His job is to uncover the best adventures, experiences and jobs for working holidaymakers in the Australian Outback. www.bestjobs.australia.com
Professional TV watcher, Netflix Getting paid to watch TV shows and films is a good gig. The ‘job of a ‘taggers’ is to watch all the movies on Netflix and tag them by genre. Where do we sign? www.netflix.com