Introduction

The idea behind Qatar Career Forum emerged from a series of discussions and partnership meetings between Qatar Career Fair Center (QCF) and key representatives of the human resources (HR) field, and the education and human capital community, in the State of Qatar.

The basis of these discussions was to enhance cooperation with key diverse corporate partners in order to provide sustainable career guidance opportunities for young Qataris aged from 16-26 and to strengthen stakeholder relations between QCF and the educational institutions, HR practitioners and other stakeholders in the country.

As QCF is currently transitioning into its new identity, the Qatar Career Development Center (QCDC), outcome-focused actions and outputs are needed to contribute to achieving the objective to increase and best utilize young, educated male and female Qatari human capital resource.

The strategic decision was recently taken to introduce the first “Qatar Career Forum” to bring together diverse stakeholders in the State of Qatar within a framework to use locally available career guidance resources to best effect, encourage continuity and progression, and identify current as well as potential gaps and suggest ways forward.

The forum’s objectives, themes, stakeholders, focus areas and program of activities as well as an action plan for implementation are presented in separate sections below.

Objectives

The overarching purpose of the Qatar Career Forum is to add value to the process of developing quality career guidance as a central issue in public policy and planning related to the education, training and employment dimensions of human capital development within the State of Qatar. The Forum aims to develop, present, discuss, disseminate and evaluate research and policy papers based on focus group discussions and commissioned research, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

The objectives of the Forum are as follows:

  1. To encourage engagement and collaboration of key stakeholders who are, in one way or another, directly involved in education-to-employment transition, employability and progression, including career guidance, career planning and career development. Examples of such stakeholders include policy-makers, decision-makers and HR professionals entrusted with career-related issues, career guidance practitioners, researchers, parents and youth.
  2. To present, discuss and evaluate key career planning and development practices applied in the State of Qatar, identify best practices and lessons learned and provide recommendations for future application, programs and improvement.
  3. To develop a culture of research–to–policy engagement and build key understanding in career guidance and support to improve employability, employment and career progression outcomes for young people in Qatar through effective research-policy knowledge exchange, innovation and collaboration, through the following:
    1. To produce forum-based research, analysis and policy briefings and reports and share them with policy-makers and decision-makers to ensure knowledge exchange, impact, innovation and utilization of relevant research and best practices when assessing and formulating new career guidance policies, or improving existing ones, developing codes of practice and designing programs in education, training and employment.
    2. To share, disseminate and discuss key findings, analyses and recommendations of locally and regionally-based career guidance research projects with key stakeholders, and identify gaps in existing research and policy needs to inform future commissioned research
    3. To highlight and discuss the knowledge gained from international career guidance projects that were customized and implemented locally and/or regionally. Here, benefits, challenges, insights and lessons gleaned from such projects will be emphasized.

    Key Stakeholders

    In light of the key focus on the education, training and employment sectors in the State of Qatar, the forum is designed to provide the views and insights of key career guidance stakeholders in Qatar. These are presented below in terms of four subsuming groups:

    1. Mixed group of Career Guidance Decision Makers, Policy makers and Researchers in the private, public and mixed sectors of the Qatari economy. These include key school principals and human resource professionals in work organizations at the director’s level and/or above, senior level officials in the government sector, particularly regulatory bodies, with the authority to develop, approve, adapt, review, evaluate and/or otherwise implement career guidance policies and procedures. Also, included in this group are career-related researchers who work independently of, and/or as researchers within career guidance and development units or organizations.

      Group Leader: Dr. Khalid Mohamed Al Horr, Director of Higher Education Institute, Supreme Education Council

      Moderator: Mr. Hamad Khamis al Kubaisi, Executive Director of Strategy and Business Development, Qatar Development Bank

    2. Career Guidance Practitioners Group: this refers to career counselors/advisors working in educational institutions, career guidance organizations and corporate training and development centers. It is assumed that these types of practitioners are professionals who have first-hand experience of career guidance as a result of their direct work with the Qatari youth issues.

      Group Leader: Dr. Khalid Mohamed Al Khanji, Vice President of Student Affairs, HBKU

      Moderator: Mr. Adam Ahmed Al Saadi, Director of Career Development Center, HBKU

    3. Mixed group of Qatari Parents and Youth: This is an extremely important group which represents the end users and their parents, custodians and/or carers who are, in one way or another, engaged in the process of career planning and development and affected directly by the decisions taken by them and/or on their behalf.

      Group Leader: Dr. Maryam Abdulla Al Ali, Founder & CEO, Draw Your Way Consulting and Training Center

      Moderator: Dr. Aziza Ahmad Al-Saadi, Director of Education and Training Sector Strategy, Supreme Education Council

    4. Career Guidance Knowledge Exchange Group: the exchange of career guidance knowledge within the State of Qatar is an important issue that would, in a selective and case-by-case basis, contribute to the development of locally appropriate career guidance practices, improve the impact of research, support innovation and professional collaboration between careers guidance stakeholders. As a result, representatives of international career guidance providers will be engaged to present and discuss experiences as applies to the situation within Qatar. Here, emphasis will be placed on case studies and lessons that can be, practically, related to the situational peculiarities of the Qatari context.

    Group Leader: Ms. Zamila Bunglawala, Fellow, University of Manchester and former British Government Policy Advisor

    Moderator: Dr. Kholode Al Obaidli, Vice President of National Talent Management, Human Resources Division, Qatar Airways

    Topical Areas

    Themes of the main topical areas that should guide the forum’s papers are presented below:

    1. Description, analysis and evaluation of existing career guidance practices within the State of Qatar, including organizational, sector and national levels of research-based evidence.
    2. Career guidance best practices in situations that are similar to the Qatari context like the GCC and other Arabian contexts, with specific emphasis on lessons that could be gleaned for strengthening career guidance in the State of Qatar.
    3. Career guidance issues, concerns and opportunities that necessitate or inspire the formulation, implementation and evaluation of, for example, national level career guidance policies, procedures, frameworks, competencies and quality assurance system.
    4. Career guidance knowledge exchange illustrating opportunities, challenges and improvement actions based on international career guidance projects customized and implemented in the State of Qatar and/or Arabian/mid-eastern context(s).
    5. How best to develop/integrate policies for career guidance in education, training, and employment sectors.
    6. How to improve the existing economic prosperity and youth employment initiatives within Qatar

    In line with the above themes, the following is a complementary set of sub-themes that are expected to guide papers that can be submitted to the forum:

    1. Engaging employers and job seekers
    2. The role of emerging technologies in advancing career guidance practices
    3. Investment in career guidance: Why should it matter to policy and decision makers?
    4. Integrated career guidance policies: Creating systems that work.

    Forum Discussion and Research Papers

    An overarching practice-oriented forum paper is expected to be produced based on the focus group discussions. The process of developing such paper includes: (a) careful selection and formation of four focus groups representing the stakeholders indicated earlier (b) introducing and discussing the forum’s topical areas and the strategy and requirements for developing focus group discussion papers (c) designing the format of discussion paper, formulating research questions and organizing the group’s response to the questions (d) conducting the focus group’s research discussion- including revisiting of the already formulated research questions, documenting, organizing and analyzing the data generated, summarizing and ordering the findings, developing recommendations and drafting as well as submitting the discussion paper.

    While group moderators will guide or lead the process involved, documentation of resultant data, findings and recommendations will be handled by group reporters. In collaboration with group leaders, group moderators will be responsible for drafting the discussion papers of their groups. For feedback and validation purposes, group moderators will, in addition, present the draft discussion papers to their respective groups.

    Forum Program

    Upon decisions taken from QCF the Qatar Career Forum 2015 will be a one-day event hosted on May 4, 2015, followed by a validation session on May 14th, 2015.

    In addition, a series of info sessions and individual meetings with key-stakeholders, as well as a 4- lectures series will be the vehicle that will bring onboard all different career stakeholders in Qatar and drive towards to:

    1. Introduce and prepare different focus groups of the upcoming forum in order to formulate a strong team for each Forum category, which will subsequently work on different papers related to, for example, education, training and employment.
    2. Encourage engagement, collaboration and experience exchange between all different stakeholders, who are involved in the career planning, development and implementation process of the Qatari youth.
    3. To present, discuss, evaluate and/or advocate current career planning and development practices applied in Qatar –suitable for each focus group, and provide suggestions for future improvement, as well as local and regional career guidance research projects and advises on future research in this area.
    4. To highlight and discuss the knowledge gained from international career guidance projects, which were customized and implemented locally and/or regionally. Here, benefits, challenges, insights and lessons gleaned from such projects will be emphasized.

    The program of these events is presented below.

    Table (1) Lectures Series - Qatar Career Forum Edition

    Date

    Target Audience

    Topic

    Sunday

    16/03/2015

     

    i)Career guidance decision makers

    ii) Policy makers and researchers

     

    “Investment in Career Guidance: Why should it matter to policy and decision makers?”

    Saturday,

    21/03/2015

    Qatari Parents and Youth

    “Qatari Parents as Career Coaches”

    Tuesday,

    15/09/2015

    Career guidance practitioners

    “Career guidance practices within the State of Qatar: current practices and future directions”

    Tuesday, 29/09/2015

    i)Career guidance decision makers

    ii) Policy makers and researchers

    iii)Career guidance knowledge transfer group

    International transfer of knowledge and adaptation in Qatar; case studies and examples outcomes to learn from past experience

      

    Table (2) Forum Timetable

    Date

    Time

    Schedule

    Monday, 04/05/2015

    at QNCC

    08:00 am - 08:45 am

    Registration

    09:00 am - 09:45 am

    Opening Plenary Session

    9:45 am - 10:00 am

    Coffee Break

    10:00 am - 11:30 am

    Focus Group Discussions Part I

    11:30 am - 1:00 pm

    Zuhr Prayer & Lunch

    01:00 pm - 02:30 pm

    Focus Group Discussions Part II

    02:30 pm - 03:00 pm

    Closing Plenary Session

     

    Table (3) Validation Session Timetable

    Date

    Time

    Schedule

    Thursday, 14/05/2015

    at HBKU Students Center

    08:30 am - 09:00 am

    Registration

    09:00 am - 10:00 am

    Forum Findings

    10:00 am -10:30 am

    Q&A Session


    Registration

    Registration in Qatar Career Forum 2015 is open through the following link: Register here

    For more information about Qatar Career Forum 2015, please call us on: 44546812.

    Or e-mail us at: qatarcareerforum@qf.org.qa.