A strategic provider of innovative Human Capital development solutions for Oman’s workforce requirements, Takatuf is a subsidiary of Oman Oil Company S.A.O.G. It was been pivotal in building a platform to bridge the gap between industry and academia in the Sultanate.
Excerpts from an interview with Ibrahim Al Harthi, the acting Chief Executive Officer of Takatuf
How has Takatuf’s focus on Talent Development sharpened in the last 3 years?
At Takatuf, we are committed to developing talent for organizations and for Oman. Three years ago, we started developing customized training programmes that were focused on development needs in light of our national context in partnership with leading entities like the London Business School, RBL, FranklinCovey and the Institute of Directors (IOD). These unique programmes focused on leadership skills and HR capabilities and facilitated more than 1,000 managers from across the country.
By mid-2015 we felt that the demand for these kinds of programmes was decreasing and that our clients were looking for more customizable, in-house solutions. We therefore, additionally focused our strategy on assessment and coaching services. We can now say with assurance that our clients have the best teams and the right people in the right job and that Takatuf’s services have helped our clients’ teams reach their full potential.
Another area of our work is Human Capital consulting, where we develop solutions and tools, based on our clients’ specific needs, which enable them to have effective policies and procedures in place. Our clients are realising that this area is vital to assure their business’ sustainability in addition to their commercial or product strategy.
Could you tell us about your contribution to Takatuf’s success during this period?
I joined Takatuf in its beginning as the Senior Manager of Human Capital, the second in command after the CEO. As the company evolved and moved towards becoming an independent commercial entity, my role expanded: first to Human Capital Director and then to Acting CEO. Since then I have worked with my talented team on a number of projects that made a difference to our clients’ businesses and their teams. I consider it rewarding to work in this business, as we have the chance to positively impact so many lives and really make a difference for our country.
In 2015 when I was appointed Acting CEO, the company was going through a transformation and the responsibility of delivering results was number one. I feel very lucky to be heading this team. Apart from them being experts with proven track records in their careers, they are also very passionate about their work and about our commitment to building pride for Oman, so we keep raising the bar.
What is your opinion about Oman’s workforce in the current challenging scenario?
The major advantage of working with our team is that we bring international practises and standards and adapt those to the Omani market, which we know in depth. So we are very aware of the opportunities and challenges that our clients face in Oman.
If I have to select one challenge, I would point out workforce readiness: the current business environment is very demanding and dynamic and companies expect their employees to be able to deal with pressure and present results. This is a hard mandate for employees and many may not be ready for such demanding pressures. As you know, this is not an Omani challenge, rather an international one faced by many countries.
To overcome this challenge, we have developed several initiatives that will contribute to a workforce prepared for this dynamic future.
Our Takatuf Scholars Programme prepares bright young Omanis from all over the Sultanate for success in their future careers. It focuses on the participants to acquire the skills and abilities that support lifelong learning, employability and leadership. It starts at Grade 10 and ends with the conclusion of their university studies abroad. The programme has proven to be very successful and Takatuf International Scholars have been offered places at some of the world’s best universities including MIT, NYU in New York City, Imperial College and University College London.
TPO, Takatuf Petrofac Oman, is a joint venture established between Takatuf and Petrofac. The Centre will deliver oil and gas related operations and maintenance technician training programmes to Omani National Diploma and Technical Diploma holders. It will include classrooms, workshops and safe system of work skids together with unique process training plants. Its location will be in Muscat and the centre is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2017. The centre will utilise state of the art technology and expertise to ensure it stands out from all current regional oil and gas technical training facilities and to become a benchmark for training excellence. So it will hold international accreditations and will be a strategic player to boost Oman In-Country Value.
instOG, the Oman Institute for Oil & Gas, is the result of a partnership with Schlumberger Oman and will specialize in training and developing petrotechnical professionals for Oman’s oil and gas industry. Raising the technical skills of Omani nationals in the upstream oil and gas sector will further enable Oman to continue to be competitive regionally and globally. The institute will be a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to train and develop the full spectrum of Omani nationals in the upstream oil and gas industry from new graduates to experienced professionals with a strong focus on technology, efficiency and safety. This centre will assist the Oman oil and gas industry in becoming self-sufficient in skilled engineers and geoscientists who can successfully sustain and further develop Oman’s oil and gas resources. It will be located in Innovation Park Muscat (IPM), next to Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). And the operations are planned to begin in 2017.
What are the future plans for Takatuf?
The region is suffering from the dramatic drop in oil prices and therefore some of the major investments being made by Oman’s public and private sectors are being postponed. This is an expected reaction to the uncertainty we are facing these days. For this reason, we have started promoting the company to clients in different industries and help them understand how we could contribute to their success and sustainable growth. We are an independent Human Capital consultancy and we currently serve clients across a diverse spectrum of industries in the region.
In Takatuf we are a young and energetic team, so we are flexible. This makes my job easier, when it comes to implementing client centric strategies.
Otherwise, we will continue to focus on our core business, it’s what we are good at. We will continue developing Human Capital Capabilities and “building pride”, which is the core of what we do.