UAE nationals train under an apprenticeship programme at Emirates Steel

UAE nationals train under an apprenticeship programme at Emirates Steel

Top UAE producer honing local skills

Emirates Steel’s priority is enhancing product volume and quality while providing recruitment and career development prospects to local youths

01 June 2013

Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Steel, the only integrated steel plant in the UAE, now implementing a comprehensive business development plan, has announced it has devised an internationally accredited three-year apprenticeship programme that will expand the enrolment of UAE nationals and develop their skills, knowledge and professionalism.

The company is keen that greater numbers of UAE citizens staff its facilities where production reached  a capacity of 3.5 million tonnes in 2012 following two expansions and investment of Dh10 billion ($2.72 billion). Other planned projects in the future are expected to increase the company’s output of finished products to more than 5.5 million tonnes. To support its expansion plans, Emirates Steel earlier this year signed a sales contract with Sweden’s LKAB to source quality iron ore pellets beginning 2013.

“The apprenticeship is designed not only to be part of the Emiratisation process but also to improve the capability of Emirates Steel to be the largest and best producer of steel in the Middle East,” said CEO engineer Saeed Ghumran Al Romaithi. To ensure the success of this programme, Emirates Steel has created an apprentice training centre within the Emirates Steel plant to provide the practical mechanical and electrical workshop skills training that make this programme unique to Emirates Steel.

“Another important objective behind the apprenticeship programme is to recruit more UAE nationals and provide them with career paths in the critical areas of production and engineering through the delivery of this internationally accredited initiative,” Al Romaithi added. Between 2013 and 2017, Emirates Steel is expected to recruit around 300 UAE nationals and provide them with career development opportunities.

The apprenticeship is divided into three phases which will last for about 27 months. Only when the apprentices have proved they are competent and obtained their ICE (competency) card will they transfer to the steel plant and take up a full-time position.

Forty new apprentices have started on the programme, which includes periods of off-the-job training, pre-site specialisation and on-the-job technical training. The apprentices are being tutored and trained by internationally-certified instructors and trainers.

Emiratis learning the ropes

Mubarak H Al Mansoori, Emirates Steel’s vice president of administration support, confirmed that the new apprenticeship programme “will be one of the major tools to upgrade the skills of UAE nationals and increase their production efficiency and that of the overall company. This will also be a path used by Emirates Steel to develop its future leaders in the years to come. We will educate and develop our nationals to fit our own business requirements, not only in the areas of production and engineering, but also in the other critical areas of the business”.

As part of its Emiratisation initiatives, Emirates Steel has designed a five-year plan to increase the number of UAE nationals working for the company to 30 per cent by 2017. “The plan is in line with Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision. We have initiated this plan to support the delivery of industrial expertise and technical know-how to our young nationals as part of our corporate social responsibility and community involvement,” Al Mansoori concluded.

Emirates Steel is owned by Senaat General Holding Company (GHC) and strategically located in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), some 35 km away from the heart of Abu Dhabi city. Emirates Steel utilises the latest rolling mill technology to produce reinforcing bar, wire rod and heavy sections.  Once its comprehensive business development plan is completed, the company will be one of the largest and most competitive steel producers in the GCC region.

It is evolving from its roots of being a simple and relatively low value-added processor of steel into a sophisticated, highly productive manufacturing business with a high added-value business model. Furthermore, it will be among the few regional steel producers with a diversified product range, including rebar in straight and coil form, wire rod, sections, hot rolled coil and semi-finished products such as billets and direct reduced iron.

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