The Middle East is an area of growth for engineering, where the need for qualified professionals is on the rise. An IET Network is developing fast in the region to support this growing community.
The Middle East is an area of fantastic economic and population growth, where engineering, science and R&D are a key part of building a post-carbon economy. Qatar is a great example of this with the influx of high-tech companies, universities and expatriate professionals.
“This makes it a very interesting place for the IET, where the need for qualified engineers and technicians is constantly on the rise and where avenues for professional registration, certification and training are still very much lacking. I see that the IET can play a significant role in Qatar and the region as a whole,” says Max Renault, Williams F1 programme leader – Simulator Systems, Qatar, and chair of the IET Qatar Network.
The Network was officially launched in November 2012, after IET staff contacted members in Qatar to discuss setting up a Local Network in Doha with the aim of getting members together, flying the IET flag in Qatar and promoting new memberships.
“We were contacted at the end of April 2012 by the Communities Committee EMEA (CC-EMEA) and in the spirit of entrepreneurship I took on the challenge and began organising regular meetings with local IET members,” says Renault. “We have about 30 members currently and launched IET Qatar Network officially at a local event that was well attended by members as well as non-members. After the launch we held elections and formalised the committee, [and the success of this first event has allowed] us to build on its foundations.
The Network organises events every other month, and tries to alternate between company visits, technical presentations, and events such as social get-togethers.
Since the Network’s official launch, Renault and the committee have organised two technical visits to the Qatar Science & Technology Park, to Williams F1’s Technology Centre and Chevron’s Sustainability Centre.
The Network has also hosted its first local final for the IET’s Present Around The World competition. “Our winner is a talented student who will represent Qatar in the regional finals in Europe later this year,” Renault enthuses.
The Network communicates using its MyCommunity and Facebook pages. However, this is only effective for current members or non-members on the mailing list, and so committee members actively invite other professionals and students at their events, through their own professional networks and via the local universities.
The Network’s intention is to promote the IET within the local Qatari population as well as the large expatriate workforce, in order to provide an effective forum and network for engineering and science professionals across the country. It is already liaising with other local professional organisations and groups including the IMechE, and is looking at the possibility of developing joint events with them in the future.
“Our vision is to grow to a dynamic and well recognised professional network in Qatar and the Middle East more generally. To achieve this the committee relies on its great professional and academic network. Word of mouth helps tremendously,” notes Renault.
One area the Network plans to focus on is the promotion of professional registration. “As the local IET Local Network in Qatar it is within our remit to promote the IET, benefits of membership and professional registration. With every event we provide information and hope to gather interest for recent graduates and professionals.
“We intend to run a workshop on professional registration after the summer, targeting existing members who need support with their CEng applications for example, or prospective members who are interested in joining the IET,” Renault says.
“We are excited to have launched the IET Local Network in Qatar; our community is very diverse by discipline and cultural backgrounds, and our exciting journey has only just begun,” he adds. “We look forward to welcoming more IET members and prospective members from all sectors.”
Elmer Moncada recently relocated to Qatar from the UK, where he founded and chaired the IET Young Professionals committee in Somerset and West Wilshire.
This experience has helped him develop good contacts within the IET and as a committee advisor he’s used his professional network to support the growth of the IET in Qatar.
“I wanted to continue spreading the word of the IET in Qatar and I checked for a Network there. The Qatar Network was at a very early stage, so I came onboard,” he says.
“My connections have allowed me to contact colleagues and get answers for the Network when needed. Also, as a member of the Knowledge Management Board I regularly visit the UK for meetings. I’ve had the opportunity to meet key players within the organisation who can help our Network to move quicker,” he says.
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