Five minutes with: Abdullah Al Saleh, Emiratisation Manager, ENOC Group

We truly believe that people are the sum of our success and are deeply committed towards human capital development, and spare no effort in identifying, attracting, nurturing and retaining talent, says Abdullah Al Saleh, Emiratisation Manager, ENOC Group.

Abdullah Al Saleh, Emiratisation Manager, ENOC Group.
Abdullah Al Saleh, Emiratisation Manager, ENOC Group.

Has ENOC taken any steps to recruit, retain and develop talent? How can you stay ahead of your competitors in this regard?

ENOC has launched a range of programmes to ensure talent is recruited, retained and developed. We have participated in Careers UAE for 11 consecutive years. In 2017 alone, 152 UAE nationals were recruited and 70 of these new recruits came directly from Careers UAE 2017 for positions in departments that included administration, operations, sales, customer services, finance, accounting, EHSQ, legal, audit and various technical functions.

ENOC has also launched a Technical Training Programme (TTP), in partnership with several academic institutes, including Higher Colleges of Technology and Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI).

We have recently launched the ENOC Energy Scholarship programme, which provides candidates the opportunity to undertake a master’s degree (MSc) in Energy at Heriot Watt University, Dubai. The scholarship programme is offered to ENOC employees and external UAE nationals, who are in their final year of undergraduate engineering degree. In addition, three of our female employees recently completed a summer academic programme in Dundee, organised by Al Maktoum College of Higher Education.

As a group that employs more than 11,000 people across our business units, we truly believe that people are the sum of our success and are deeply committed towards human capital development, and spare no effort in identifying, attracting, nurturing and retaining talent.

Do you think technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) can be a replacement for human capital in the future, or will it complement human capital?

Investments in digital technologies by energy firms have risen sharply over the last few years, and while AI is set to largely improve efficiency levels for the energy sector, in general, AI should be viewed as the tool that can help transform the ocean of industry data into new smart solutions.

To claim that AI alone could become a replacement for human capital in the future might be considered far-fetched. I would say that it is more a challenge of optimisation so as to contribute to the energy sector on a broader scale.

Digitalisation, which falls under the umbrella of the 4th Industrial Revolution, is also quickly reshaping the status quo of many jobs. The need for greater efficiency to enhance production volumes at affordable costs is spurring the popularity of digital tools. A more basic version of many of these tools has long been available, but recent advancements means reams of real-time data can be instantly processed to identify time and cost-saving trends. For example, seasonal energy demand profiles can be tracked more accurately to match supply to domestic needs, therefore cutting expensive import bills, and thus, reducing wastage and improving energy bills.

The same applies to more refined motor skills in the field of robotics. Such tools can explore solutions to hazardous incidents at oil rigs and field operations so that a human employee can refocus their efforts on other tasks, especially ones that require practical and emotional intelligence – traits that technologies do not have.

Have you developed any company-specific strategies and programmes to develop national talent?

ENOC’s updated National Development Programme (NDP) encourages a custo- mised learning journey that is shaped to meet and enhance an individual’s needs, both today and as their long-term career path. Talent, which must be nominated to the programme, are supported by ENOC Group’s human resources and management. But, each participant must also invest their time and effort to enhance their professional development. This plays a key role in our Emiratisation and succession planning efforts to build leadership capacity and capabilities.

All participants in the NDP, ‘Mawaheb’ and ‘Imtiaz’ levels can carve out a Personal Development Plan (PDP), which sets goals and objectives for career growth and enables individuals to better understand their own ambitions and strengths. It also considers the impact of departmental and organisational needs within ENOC to ensure that all efforts meet at the same conclusion – meeting Dubai’s energy needs.

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