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Posted On: 3 June 2008 08:27 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Asghal still reliant on expats

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) will have to depend on foreign expertise for a long time, a senior official has said. Mohamed Hamad al-Kubaisi, the human resources manager, said though Qatarisation was a major goal of the company it was finding it difficult because of the shortage of technical hands within the country. Non-availability of qualified hands in various engineering disciplines was a real problem as the state institution requires a huge number of engineering and technical hands, the manager said. “The output of Qatar University and other educational institutes in the state and the nationals who graduate from abroad together will not meet our demand. “We need hundreds of engineers every year and so, we have to depend heavily on the outside workforce to implement the high volume of projects being implemented by various state institutions.” Attracting the young generation of the country was among the priorities of Ashghal, he said. This was part of the Qatarisation strategy that the state followed in order to make the youth contribute to nation building, and help the state achieve its plans in the coming years. Ashghal offered all opportunities to university graduates to choose the most suitable jobs according to their taste and academic specialisation, he said. However, attracting Qatari engineers and technically qualified local people was a major challenge for the department, he said. This was more so because of strong competition between public and private companies in the construction field. He pointed out that Ashghal had adopted a new organisational structure, merging some departments and creating new ones. This had created new jobs including senior positions. For senior positions, priority was being given to the existing Ashghal staff as part of preparing a second line. “At the same time, we won’t ignore capable personalities already available in the state and those whom were involved in training within and outside the country”. Ashghal did not function in isolation from the various other state institutions in implementing the Qatarisation drive, he said. “We believe that it is a fundamental right of the citizens. Depending on the availability of national competencies required for work, we implement the strategy.” But, al-Kubaisi said, continued development and training was required to achieve the objective. “We have achieved 50% Qatarisation and now we are targeting 70% in the coming years.” In order to meet the target, Ashghal provided many training courses to employees and recruits. “We believe that continuous evaluation of employee’s performance is necessary and we focus on that. Then we provide suitable training in the required fields to increase the capability of national cadres and we send them abroad for training.” These training programmes would undoubtedly empower nationals to keep abreast of international standards in various areas of specialisation, he said. Ashghal has agreements with several private and public institutions that coordinate and provide training programmes. These include Qatar Petroleum, QatarGas, Qatar University and CHN University. Once they return from training, employees were required to present a report on the course or programme completed. This was to ensure that the objective of sending them for training was achieved. Ashghal spent more than QR18mn in 2007 on training programmes for employees and “we have to increase this year’s budget.” Gulf TImes