Qatalum, in line with Qatar's long-term economic diversification strategy, has successfully concluded its 2011 Summer Internship Programme in which a total of 18 students from Qatar University, Texas A & M University (Qatar), the University of Teesside (UK), and Qatar Technical Independent High School, participated.
This programme forms part of Qatalum’s Qatarisation initiatives, and is intended to help the smelter achieve its aim of making a lasting contribution to the future growth and prosperity of Qatar, adding value through people development, economic diversification and sustainable processes and results. Qatalum believes that investing in the future of Qatar means investing in young Qatari nationals who are motivated and determined to succeed, and initiatives such as the Summer Internship Programme are intended to do exactly that.
University students attended an informative eight-week programme, which kicked off in June, while the programme duration for high school students was four weeks. Both programmes culminated in a farewell ceremony on 11 August, where 18 students were presented with certificates. During the event, the CEO, DCEO and HR Manager addressed participants who, in turn, had an opportunity to share their experiences of the programme.
Speaking about the programme, Chief Executive Officer, Tom Petter Johansen said, “Our Summer Internship Programme is geared towards teaching participants the basics of workplace ethics and familiarizing them with our working environment. Our aim is to help build students’ skills and knowledge and, in doing so, laying the foundation for a knowledge-based aluminium industry in Qatar and the region. One of the best ways for us to do this is to take young people who are interested in working in the industry and give them a hands-on taste of exactly what it entails. Theoretical knowledge is important, but on-the-job training is also a major part of the industry, particularly when it comes to the health and safety aspects. It is our belief that by offering university and high school students the chance to receive such training, we will not only stoke their interest in the sector, but also give them something practical to build on when it comes to the theory aspects of their learning.”
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Khalid Laram added, “The aluminium industry is still new in the country, and Qatalum has become a successful partnership between Qatar Petroleum – the energy provider – and Hydro – the technology provider, making it a prime target for students and graduates looking to join in and start their career in the aluminium industry.”
According to Human Resources Manager, Waleed Al-Obaidly, this organised and well-prepared training programme will be one among many offered by Qatalum in future. “We plan to offer a variety of programmes relevant to the industry to students in Qatar’s universities and schools and this first group of trainees will become a reference to their peers regarding Qatalum’s training programmes and work environment. Our doors are always open for those looking for more information on Qatalum and the aluminium industry in Qatar and we are ready at any time to provide clarification or answers to any questions from students.”
Before embarking on extensive on-the-job training, students were familiarised with the smelter’s various departments during a two-day basic course covering its operations, as well as health, safety and environmental regulations. They also spent a day visiting the plant’s facilities.
On-the-job training undertaken during the programme included administrative functions such as data entry, mail sorting and positioning, and the scanning and filing of documents; logistics, including smelter and site layout, and products and applications; and various marketing and sales roles. Students further received training on the Qatalum Production System (QPS) principles and QPS problem solving, as well as guidance on enhancing soft skills such as interviewing, presentation and time management skills.
Qatalum has a production capacity of 585,000 metric tonnes per year that will enable Qatar to contribute a significant portion towards GCC aluminium production. The smelter aims to become a sustainable economic catalyst turning Qatar’s gas energy into a valuable commodity – solid aluminium, and hopes to create a strong, knowledge-based industry not only in Qatar, but throughout the region.