DUBAL Engineering Graduates
Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL), the entirely state-owned enterprise that not only operates one of the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters but is also one of the region’s employers of choice, achieved another milestone in its ongoing commitment to Nationalization during October 2011. On this date, 40 young Emiratis (aged 20- to 24-years-old) graduated with a Certificate III Level Engineering Qualification, developed under the auspices of the Australian Technical and Further Education (“TAFE”) system. To reach this point, everyone in the group had completed DUBAL’s Maintenance Apprenticeship Programme and each has now been placed in the various maintenance areas within the plant as a maintenance technician in Mechanical, Electrical or Instrumentation disciplines.
DUBAL’s Maintenance Apprenticeship Programme started in 1982 with the objective of nationalizing the maintenance workforce by developing young UAE Nationals into competent technical experts through tailor-making an internationally-recognized training programme. Another 40 trainees are currently in training at DUBAL, including 12 trainees from Emirates Aluminium Company Limited (“EMAL”). The programme has proved very effective over the years: many graduates currently hold senior management positions within DUBAL and in various organizations throughout the UAE.
A key component for the success of the current training model is DUBAL Training Centre’s consistent ability to evaluate, adapt and revise the learning programme in response to continuing technological developments in the competitive manufacture of world-class aluminium, for which DUBAL is renowned. This is achieved, inter alia, through a partnering arrangement between DUBAL Training Centre and Box Hill Institute of TAFE in Victoria, Australia (signed in 2005) for the delivery, assessment, certification and quality assurance of the Certificate III in Engineering on-site at DUBAL. DUBAL’s very capable training supervisors repeatedly undergo professional development to maintain the currency of their own capabilities, thereby ensuring the highest standards in the delivery of the Certificate III. Box Hill Institute of TAFE has, since 2008, also helped more than 40 DUBAL trainers achieve competency in the internationally recognized Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (“TAA”) – a well-respected trainer qualification in many countries throughout the Middle East.
The Certificate III in Engineering comprises a mixture of both off-the-job training sessions in the DUBAL Training Centre; and on-the-job training within the operating plant, under the mentoring guidance of highly-experienced Plant Technicians and selected members of the DUBAL Training Centre. This model ensures that the apprentices gain real-world, real-time hands-on experience throughout their apprenticeship; an example of job-readiness at its best.
The October 2011 graduation ceremony was conducted on-site at the DUBAL plant in Jebel Ali, Dubai. The ceremony was well attended, with special guests including Marwan Al Sawaleh (General Manager: HR); Mohammed Al Owais (Manager: Organization Development), Mohammad Al Sabri (Head of National Programmes & Development), Abdulmunim BinBrek (Vice President: Engineering Expansions & EHS), Mohamed A Jame (General Manager: Smelter Maintenance) plus Managers, Heads of Department, Supervisors and the mentors of the graduating apprentices from the Smelter, Power and Desalination maintenance departments. The Training Supervisors from DUBAL Training Centre were also there to congratulate the graduates. Box Hill Institute of TAFE was represented by James Stafford (Executive Manager: International Business) and Petra McLoughlin (Centre Manager for the Centre of Automotive Transport and Engineering).
In their respective congratulatory speeches Marwan Al Sawaleh and James Stafford both emphasized how important it is for DUBAL to sustain its ongoing capacity building efforts in the development of best practice maintenance people. By delivering concerted efforts in this critical area, DUBAL will achieve optimum plant operational efficiency and thereby increase the competitiveness of DUBAL in an ever more demanding global aluminium market place. Marwan Al Sawaleh also reiterated DUBAL’s commitment to Nationalization. In particular, Marwan emphasized the continuous support that DUBAL’s management provides to these programmes, which strengthen the national development plans of the company. In turn, James Stafford welcomed the 40 graduates to the Box Hill Institute International Alumni Association, which has members in countries across the globe.