5,000 NEW JOBS IN OIL & GAS

Oman 2019 | ENERGY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ibrahim Al Harthi, Managing Director of Takatuf, on Omanization, gaps in training, and objectives for the coming year.

How is Takatuf involved in helping the oil and gas industry reach its target of supplying 5,000 new jobs to Omanis?

Takatuf has been an ambassador for a new business belief where human capital is not just about investing in people and training them, but seeing them as strategic drivers of change. Takatuf was formed as a people consulting company five years ago, and in very short time, we have established a reputation for providing sound strategic thinking and effective human capital solutions – from consulting, assessment, coaching, learning and development to training institutes. In this regard, we have deployed a number of these solutions to help many organizations in the energy sector in Oman achieve their hiring targets of Omanis as set by the Government. With Omanization high on the agenda, one of the key challenges that companies in Oman face today is to meet the targets whilst being mindful of making it sustainable and effective. Omanization is not just about numbers, but about finding the right people for the right roles and adding value to people's functions rather than burdening the system. At Takatuf we have identified two distinct types of Omanization. One, linked to growth and job creation as a result of progress. Second, for organizations that are not looking at an aggressive evolution curve, the challenge is to identify functions and roles that qualified Omani nationals can take replacing existing resources.

What training do new Omani employees need?

One of the core themes formulated in the Vision 2020 was the development of human resources and capabilities of Omani nationals to keep pace with technical development, manage the changes therein with efficiency and be prepared for the dynamic domestic and global environment. The government has taken a number of significant steps in that direction and today the results are visible for all to see. Being part of the Oman Oil group, Takatuf shares this vision and national agenda. Takatuf is not just a consulting company, but a strategic investor in the human capital requirements for the nation. We have partnered with Petrofac, a world-leading oilfield service provider with a 35-year track record in the development of training and competence programs and facilities to set up Takatuf Petrofac Oman Institute (TPO), a new purpose-build training Institute in Oman. TPO will deliver a range of world-class, internationally accredited technical training programs, tailored to meet the needs of the industry Similarly, we have partnered with Schlumberger, another Oil & Gas giant to set up Oman Institute for Oil & Gas (instOG), a premier state-of-the-art institute dedicated to training and development of individuals in the upstream Oil & Gas industry. Aside of these business focused people development programs, Takatuf has also established a successful national initiative, the Takatuf Scholars Program, which is aimed at identifying and building the next generation of young Omani leaders through a global academic enrichment program. To date, the program has helped provide close to 350 graduates with over 100 of them receiving international scholarships.

How does the public sector compare to the private sector in Omanization advances?

In well-established, government-owned organizations, Omanization is not a major issue; in fact, Omanis lead at all ranks. And it is working in these companies because they have put in enough effort to develop their people and make them ready to take those roles. However, the reality in some sectors in the private sector, is not the same. The Institutes that we built are expected to play a major role in providing highly qualified, competent, and job-ready local workforce who can fill the gap in the private sector as well as grow Omanization targets especially in highly skilled jobs.

What gap do your training institutes fill?

instOG and TPO are supporting the Sultanate of Oman's vision to secure a skilled, competent and job ready workforce for the oil and gas, energy, and related industries sectors. It is of strategic importance to the economic future of Oman. These institutes will ensure that all of its graduates meet this criteria and, in doing so, they will fulfill its mission in supporting the future workforce demands of the industry. The global knowledge economy is no longer a milestone, but a dynamic, continuous, and evolving journey. Oman has made giant leaps in the last decade to not just catchup but be a torchbearer in the region for scientific research, technology, and innovation. Over the last few years, there has been a focus on developing public-private partnerships, which is expected to support a wider innovation agenda. Initiatives such as Innovation Park Muscat, the campus that hosts instOG, and KOM that houses our other institute TPO are great examples of Oman's achievements in this regard. Hence, in our institutes we have made major investments in technology enhanced digital and blended learning platforms that cater to, and keep pace with, the modern styles of learning, providing students with an immersive learning experience. This innovative approach to learning is the first of its kind here in Oman. Our integration of eLearning and virtual and augmented reality technologies, allows us to actively engage the next generation of young learners, whilst ensuring these new technologies complement the more traditional 'hands-on' training methodologies.

In which sectors of the economy outside of oil and gas is there a need for training programs?

As part of its economic diversification plan, the Government has identified a number of key non-oil sectors, to focus on in the next phase including tourism, mining, construction, logistics and manufacturing. Many of these sectors will require a competent local workforce to lead so they can achieve high Omanization targets at all levels. And hence, the importance of developing comprehensive solutions involving designing effective training programs, changing mindset towards work and, in some of sectors, a regulation change.

What are Takatuf's objectives for the next 12 months?

While large consulting firms traditionally approached people solutions with a clinical precision, Takatuf believes that cultural understanding is at the core of people processes, and we base our business model and culture on this pillar. We are a home-grown brand and deeply insightful of Oman's reality, which makes our offerings more persuasive and ultimately add value to people, business and the nation as a whole. We've delivered impactful solutions so far and we will continue to develop our business based on this belief.