BP supports contractor hit Omanisation target
Young Omanis leverage the opportunities and rewards of a career in the water sector
BP Oman is playing a major role in helping build capability in Oman’s water desalination industry, thanks to supporting a training initiative called Tahlya being run by the Middle East Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC) as part of BP Oman's Social Investment Programme. Omani graduates from this programme have taken up positions in Oman’s growing water industry, including over 20 who have joined BP contractor, Veolia, to help run its Raw Water Treatment Plant at BP’s Khazzan gas field. This recruitment initiative has enabled Veolia to hit its 80% Omanisation mandate within 6 months from contract commencement date (1st March 2019).
The Tahlya program is giving young Omani nationals the wings to soar, and is nurturing a generation of talented young professionals to pursue their careers in an essential industry.
In a freewheeling group discussion, young Omani graduates share their experiences and aspirations alongside the management teams at Veolia and BP on the success of the program, commitment to ICV and the plans for the future.
Young Omani engineers Marwa Al Riyami and Bader Al Abri made a choice to build their careers in the water industry for compelling reasons. They are employed at Veolia in the Health & Safety, Operation and maintenance departments. They are working in the Reverse Osmosis Raw water treatment plant of BP Khazzan.
They are driven by the opportunities that open up in a dynamic environment, are continuously inspired to meet and overcome challenges, and have a passion for success and career growth gained through international exposure, knowledge sharing and experience.
As proud achievers at Tahlya, Marwa and Bader recounted their journeys, and shared insights into what inspires them, their dreams, aspirations and their pride in Oman.
Why the Water sector?
Marwa Al Riyami: Water is an essential industry sector that forms the very basis for most industries to build on. It is a critical and challenging industry, employs the best of technology and is constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation. It is exciting to be part of this industry and to have an opportunity to contribute to something big, and make a difference.
Bader Al Abri: The Water industry is future-oriented. The sector today is brimming with opportunities, more than ever, and is faced with global challenges that call for innovation and sustainability. These factors motivated me to choose a career in the Water sector.
How as your experience with BP's Tahlya training program and working with Veolia?
Marwa Al Riyami: Tahlya offered me the opportunity to learn from experts with a global outlook. Besides, it also encouraged me to have an open mind, respect multiple perspectives, and celebrate inclusiveness. It’s a great place to learn in a friendly atmosphere, yet one that pushes you to do more. I have really much appreciated the Induction program I have received on process and safety when joining Veolia’s team and I am now involved in the training of new comers.
Bader Al Abri: Mobility is a key factor that only an organization like Veolia can provide. With mobility, we can gain knowledge, experience and learn from all our Veolia colleagues around the world. Being Veolia’s people, what we called “Resourcers”, also means seeing the world from other perspectives, which can make our daily challenges look a lot less intense .
How do you see Oman evolve? What contributions will young Omanis make towards continuing Oman’s success?
Marwa Al Riyami: My ambition for Oman is for our youth to continue on the path paved by the vision of His Majesty the Sultan and invest in themselves and contribute to their organization, community and the country. My colleagues and I are very optimistic about the future. As a woman, I am also really proud to pave the way for women wanting to start a career on the engineering field.
Bader Al Abri: Oman has a unique advantage, thanks to its geographic location. This augers well for growth across diverse industry segments, and the overall economy. The country has been making giant strides in industrialization and we can see the results of these efforts, from the growth in tourism, to the development of the free zones in Duqm. However, there is still room for improvement in the outlook of the young workforce, and work culture. Programs such as Tahlya are positive steps towards leveraging the opportunities.
Scarcity of water is, of course, a pressing issue in the Middle East and to meet the challenge in Oman, a number of desalination plants are due for construction across the country by 2020. This expansion in capacity will require intensive capability building – hence, the creation of the Tahlya programme, which aims to attract some of the brightest Omanis to train and take on key positions in the industry.
Currently in its third successful year, the Tahlya program in it’s the first 2 years seen the graduation of 133 trainees, with thousands of Omanis having applied to take part.
The programme includes on-site training at the MEDRC training plant and at the five biggest desalination plants in Oman. Participants undergo operator and supervisor training to understand reverse osmosis desalination technologies. Once the programme is successfully completed, they are given the opportunity to apply for a position in Oman’s desalination projects.
72.18% of the first 2 years’ graduates are employed in various desalination-related companies. This year’s programme commenced in February 2019 and aims to provide training for 76 young Omani job seekers.
Elaborating on the success of the program, Ciarán Ó Cuinn, MEDRC’s centre director said, “Our partnership with BP has helped us deliver this unique programme successfully over the last few years. BP’s commitment to the program has been steadfast and in synergy with the vision and objectives of MEDRC supporting Oman’s national objectives. The Tahlya program brings together a variety of projects designed to empower Omani nationals and support Oman in its efforts towards achieving a self-sufficient and progressive future.”
Shamsa Al Rawahi, BP Oman's Social Investment Manager, explained how the programme is a critical element of the BP’s commitment to building In Country Value, by empowering young nationals to take on meaningful careers within the industry.
“BP works closely with the communities we operate in, and it is our commitment and endeavor to leave a positive, lasting legacy with all our actions. This goes not just for us, but for our contractors, and this is a good example of how we encourage and help them develop Omani capability. Oman has been home to BP for many years, and we have always felt one with the community. The Tahlya training programme is an expression of both our gratitude, and our firm belief in the young Omani workforce and their vibrant future”.
Erwan Rouxel, Veolia Oman Director, concludes: “The recruitment of these Tahlya graduates is crucial to Veolia as we need the right skills and capabilities to help run what is a highly important part of BP’s Khazzan facility. Meeting our Omanisation target through the programme means knowing that the water treatment plant will be in good hands now and in the future, through a sustainable, Oman-based workforce.”