Posted on April 10, 2018

A grand awards ceremony to announce the winners of the first “Job Champions Competition” in Qatar, and felicitate all the participants, was held on Sunday in Doha. The exciting finale took place in the presence of INJAZ Qatar Board members, the French Embassy officials, organizers, partners and volunteers who were involved in the competition. The event, held at the Four Season’s Hotel, was the culmination of a month-long innovative job training programme that gave educators, students and employers a fresh perspective on career development for university students.

The Job Champions Competition was organised by INJAZ Qatar in partnership with the French Embassy and Thales; a French company that has had business ties with Qatar for over three decades. The competition was open to all university students currently studying one of the business or engineering majors such as Marketing, Accounting, Finance, HR, Engineering and IT. Through a multi-module programme that ended in a challenging competition last week, hand-picked students were taught a range of skills crucial for job-readiness in both the private and public sectors. The competition required each team of students to come up with a solution to a real-life challenge related to Thales’s business.

Six teams of four students each, took part in the programme.   Team ‘Illimitables’, consisting of El Tayeb Mohammed (from Qatar University), Reem Khalid Al Mahmoud (Qatar University), Omar Hicham Khodr (Texas A & M) and Aseel Wazwaz (Qatar University) won the competition with their innovation – a SMART PORT.

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The SMART PORT aims to decrease the stress on Hamad Port’s container operations. The students created a command system that would control the arrival and placements of containers, according to each ship’s arrival, in an efficient and timely manner, thereby managing the storage space at the port. With the port ready to invest more funds for expansions next year, the low-cost SMART PORT proposed solution would potentially result in considerable savings. The four-member winning team will progress to module 4 of the program; which is an all-expenses paid, three-week internship with Thales in France in July 2018. The winners, thrilled at winning the grand prize, observed how Job Champions surpassed all their expectations.

Omar Hicham Khodr, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering student at Texas A & M University in Doha, and one of the winners, said, “My expectation was that there would be short training sessions and a simple competition at the end. But it was far more than that – it even taught us how to shape your character and personality, to aim to become a CEO of a company. Additionally, I always thought that I fully understood other people, that I could put myself in their shoes. After the psycho metric testing that Job Champions offered, I learnt to be more open minded to others’ opinions.”

Aseel Wazwaz, a senior Engineering student at Qatar University majoring in Industrial Engineering, observed how working in a team was exciting – and a learning experience. “We had different majors, we had different mind sets. My team mates were offering suggestions which I would not have thought of, which would have not even crossed my mind. So, there was a great deal of harmony, a lot of give and take. That’s one reason why we could come up with a good idea,” she said, adding that the skills she acquired from the modules in this competition, especially job shadowing and mentoring, will gave her an edge over other fresh-graduates when she applies for a job.

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Speaking at the ceremony, Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani, Chairperson of INJAZ Qatar said, “In the current job environment, soft skills are just as important as earning an academic qualification. In fact, as the world becomes more connected, the need for interpersonal skills, behavioral adaptability and a positive attitude have become so crucial, that top businesses across the globe consider such training on par with receiving a university degree. That is why initiatives such as Job Champions Competition are both necessary and effective.” She also pointed out how the competition meets the country’s increasing demand for youth education, which is a crucial element of human development, one of the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030.

Emad Al Khaja, CEO of INJAZ Qatar, too spoke at the ceremony. “It’s a very proud moment for Injaz Qatar. We have all worked on the Job Champions Competition for quite a while. A lot of effort and thought has gone into organizing the programme. Though this was the first edition of Job Champions, Injaz Qatar has been working on providing career development programmes for Qatar’s youth for the past ten years. I would especially like to thank Thales and the French Embassy for making this competition a success, by investing their time and resources and more importantly, for believing in the potential of our youth.”

INJAZ’s Job Champions Competition has not only delivered on its promise to provide outstanding mentoring opportunities for the next generation of entrepreneurs in an exciting and interactive manner, but the programme seems to have inspired participants in a different way. As one participant summed up, “What Injaz Qatar, Thales and the French Embassy have done for us is amazing. Ten years from now, given the chance, I will certainly be a mentor myself to the next generation of students.”