The idea started at a November 2005 Middle East Young Professionals (YPs) council meeting in Doha, Qatar: holding the first Middle East YP workshop. With excellent teamwork and organization, the workshop took place in Abu Dhabi from 31 October to 3 November. The event included discussion of the role of YPs in the future of the oil and gas industry and featured interactive sessions on technology and innovation; leadership; career development; health, safety, and the environment (HSE); and diversity and inclusiveness. Attendees came from Bahrain, Egypt, France, India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the U.K.
The workshop began with remarks by 2007 SPE President Abdul Jaleel Al-Khalifa, who emphasized how the industry should prepare young professionals to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow. Attendees agreed that they need to always try to improve their skills, be proactive, understand and apply the vision of their organizations, and implement new ideas to directly help their business units. Potential barriers could be resistance to change by superiors, a limited budget, and lack of training. Managers could help young professionals through mentoring, delegation, encouraging motivation, and recognition. Peers could help by sharing knowledge and experiences, and SPE should support the YP community through a variety of events and workshops and by promoting e-mentoring by senior experts.
Speakers stressed the importance of diversifying skills and technical experiences, as well as developing interpersonal soft skills to enhance daily performance and interaction at work and in all aspects of life. Regarding HSE, speakers stressed that it is the individual’s behavior and attitude that can create a risk that ultimately may lead to an accident. Many attendees said they realized the need to change their attitudes and behaviors and take HSE more seriously. Others recommended that attendees take the responsibility of communicating and reinforcing the message within their business units on returning home.
Does your company have a policy or process about diversity and inclusiveness? This question was raised for discussion during one of the sessions. Many agreed that diversity and inclusiveness are extremely important and can affect an individual’s performance if he/she is not included or respected for a particular point of view.
Regarding teamwork, attendees learned to listen to one another and to have one sound as a team. If someone falls out of rhythm, then he/she would not distort the teamwork but would wait for the right moment to step back in. This was communicated in a short drumming session where attendees all drummed together, working as one team toward reaching a goal.
During the technology and innovation sessions, young professionals discussed the important role of technology and innovation, including advances in horizontal drilling, automation, and gas-to-liquids technology. Oil is expected to make up more than 50% of energy consumption in the future even as natural gas and renewable resources become more attractive sources of energy.
It was stressed that today’s YPs are the leaders of tomorrow. Everyone is a leader, whether at home, at work, or within the community, and every team needs a leader to drive, direct, and make sure everything stays on course until goals are achieved. The leader should set goals and milestones, motivate, reward, recognize, and, most important, be a role model.
Attendees of the first Middle East YP workshop.