Our Success Story

Our Success Story

The story begins with a small center founded on big dreams and great ambitions; a center that has made enormous strides and influenced the lives of thousands in Qatari society. Carrying the burden of achieving career security in Qatar, an essential ingredient of any country’s national security, this center has been sowing the seeds of a culture that never existed.

The protagonist of this story is Qatar Career Development Center (QCDC), one of the smallest entities in Qatar Foundation (QF). The ongoing endeavors of its mother organization to unlock human potential and help turn Qatar into a society capable of achieving sustainable development, inspires and guides QCDC’s core business

From a Fair to a Fully-Fledged Center

QCDC started big by organizing the largest national career fair in the country under the patronage of HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar (then the Heir Apparent). The fair offered various opportunities for the country’s youth, including educational, training, development and employment opportunities. The fair also sought to connect them with employers from different sectors, offering them career opportunities that correspond to their skills and interests as well as the needs of Qatar’s labor market.

 

However, QCDC has always aspired for a deeper impact and a more visible mark on people’s lives; having institutionalized the culture of career fairs, with many organizations, such as schools, universities, ministries, etc., following its footsteps and launching their own career fairs. QCDC wanted to be more than a fair organizer, move to a higher level and make the first step in the journey of positioning itself as a leading professional development hub and a key contributor to the development of a highly accomplished human capital in Qatar. QF leadership felt that the time had come for such inevitable change and for QCDC to become a fully-fledged center that offers an array of programs and services that address one of Qatar’s most critical socio-economic needs: “Career Guidance”.

The transformation happened, and QCDC became the country’s beacon of career guidance, planning and development, shouldering the responsibility of empowering the youth, supporting capacity building and preparing highly accomplished human capital in the country to respond to the requirements of Qatar National Vision 2030 and transform Qatar’s economy from a carbon-based economy to a knowledge-based one.

Based on Qatar National Vision 2030, with its four pillars that evolve directly and indirectly around human capital, and in light of the ongoing economic development with its challenges that Qatar has been undergoing, more than ever, the State of Qatar needs to develop its human capital and have a highly capable labor force. This can be achieved through building world-class education and labor market systems, by first and foremost strengthening the existing career guidance system, which is at its early stages of development.

QCDC took the responsibility of instilling career guidance within Qatar’s socio-economic culture through awareness and expertise exchange platforms as well as training and counseling programs and services to guide the youth throughout their different education stages. However, and before embarking on its plans, QCDC felt a pressing need to conduct a comprehensive and meticulous study of the local market and Qatar’s progress on the career guidance, planning and development fronts, in order to make sure that its services are tailor-made to fit the specific needs of its diverse target groups.

Research and Studies

For many years, the center has collected and analyzed a wealth of information from thousands of students, graduates, and parents, as well as respondents from various segments of senior stakeholders across the government and private sectors; and assessed activities, surveys, and studies, which have contributed to the development of new initiatives and programs that benefited the youth and had a positive impact on the labor market.

These are a number of examples of research papers conducted and published by QCDC: “The Role of Career Guidance in the Preparation, Placement and Development of Qatar National Workforce”, “Career Aspirations, Guidance and Mobility: Achieving Quality Qatarization”, and “Careering Towards A Sustainable Qatari Economy”.

 

QCDC did not hold back this knowledge and expertise from the world; on the contrary, it has sought to share and exchange it with key international stakeholders, promoting Qatar’s endeavors in the field of career development on the international scene. It presented various research papers at several internationally renowned career conferences and associations, e.g., APCDA Conference, IAEVG Conference, ICCDPP Conference, and WISE.

 

 

During these conferences, QCDC has highlighted its efforts in contributing to the development of an effective career guidance system in Qatar by identifying and addressing the existing challenges and shortcomings, and proposing the necessary solutions. It also met with career practitioners, facilitators, coaches, researchers and professionals, and benefited from their experiences and learned lessons in developing career programs and services for the youth in similar environments with similar contexts, peculiarities and complexities. QCDC continuously explores the local, regional and international scenes to collect findings about current and future career needs and the ultimate means to address them. This is done through constant monitoring and screening of the career guidance concepts and practices, as well as a network of relationships and partnerships that QCDC continues to develop.

QCDC also reached out to many international stakeholders to bring specialized knowledge and expertise to the country in an effort to enhance career guidance services provided within the educational system. The result was the development of the online Career Advising System (CAS), which is the only all-encompassing career planning system available in Qatar and the region. This is a customized version of the internationally renowned Kuder system (a world leader in career planning services), offered in Arabic and English, while having its components tailored to fit the Qatari socio-cultural specificities. It allows the user to undergo a complete psychometric analysis including, among others, interests, values and capabilities’ assessments, while cross-checking the outcome with fundamental information in the likes of education providers, occupational categorization and labor market data, in order to generate the most suitable individualized career

recommendations. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, QCDC rolled out the CAS across public secondary schools in Qatar in 2018. More than 20,000 students and counselors across Qatar have benefited from the system and its features.

Human Capital Development

With the CAS now in place and students provided with top-notch technology for career planning, QCDC had to work on developing and improving the other part of the equation, i.e., school counselors. Believing in the their vital role in the career guidance and development of students, QCDC offered structured training programs for school counselors that cover all central theoretical and hands-on components required from counselors to effectively perform their responsibilities. Therefore, QCDC developed programs such as “Career Advisor Training Course,” “Career Counselors Training Program”, “Introductory Career Advisory Course” and “Professional Career Counselor Program,” in order to equip advisors with the skills and essential knowledge of career advising and planning, and provide them with tools and activities so they can assist the youth to embark on their ultimate career journeys. These programs also welcomed career advisors, academic and vocational counselors, HR and national development professionals, parents, instructors and professors, as well as scholars.

QCDC has always believed that the classroom is never enough to teach students everything. The old saying, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn,” sums up the concept behind the programs and events QCDC is organizing for the youth. To keep up with the ever-evolving mindsets and mentalities of the youth, QCDC had to find a more appealing and attractive way to present its programs. Thus, it introduced to the youth a wide range of engaging programs to provide them with hands-on experience, guide them towards making informed career choices and help them choose the academic and career tracks that best match their interests and values as well as the needs of the labor market. Through these stimulating programs, students became more familiar with the dynamics and challenges of the local market and were acquainted with the fields that enable them to best serve their country. Examples of these programs are Career Camps, Job Shadowing Program, Career Ambassadors Program, Career Development Workshop Series, My Career – My Future, Career Academy, and Career Village. The latter, due to high demand, was organized twice in one year with thousands of visitors, students and others who have been positively impacted.

Protecting the “vocational security” of Qatar is at the heart of our center’s mission. It’s a concept manifested by the development of qualified cadres, in all sectors and all disciplines, who can perform their duties and accomplish the tasks entrusted to them to the fullest. Through professional training at the highest levels and in all fields.”

  • Abdulla Al-Mansoori
    Director

    Specialized Publications

    As an effective and attractive tool targeting youth, their parents and relevant other groups, QCDC launched its biannual “Career Guide” magazine and its mobile application. This publication has become a very useful reference for career knowledge, guidance and relevant tips. QCDC’s “Career Guide” offers valuable career-related references, advice, tips and exposure to the career industry. Drawing on thought leadership and contributions from established professionals and experts, and supported by a highly qualified editorial team, the “Career Guide” addresses and targets a high-caliber readership of industry stakeholders with content that is unparalleled in both breadth and quality, covering key issues and trends within the field of career development and providing a wealth of information for the youth, school and university graduates, parents, researchers, practitioners and experts in the fields of career guidance and human development. The “Career Guide” features a series of articles that highlight career-related priorities in Qatar, as well as successful professionals from various sectors, who discuss their work experience and provide valuable advice to the youth.

     

    The publication is also available as a smart phone application that provides users with a unique interactive experience, which can be downloaded through the Apple Store and Google Play Store. The printed magazine is distributed at universities and other education institutes and organizations, ministries, private institutions, youth clubs among other entities. Thousands of copies are printed and distributed to these organizations and entities every year.

    Early Childhood Guidance

    Instilling a culture of career guidance and raising awareness has never been restricted to the youth only, but also extended to children at very young ages (starting from four years old). QCDC opened a new front and accepted a new challenge by approaching and engaging children at these young ages in two of the biggest edutainment parks worldwide, KidZania and KidzMondo, where QCDC has two dedicated career awareness centers to promote awareness of professional work culture.

     

    The two centers, as part of these edutainment parks, would be the first of their kind in Qatar and the region. They help children explore their optimal career paths, identify their orientations and hone their skills in line with their abilities through role-playing in an interesting educational context. Children learn how to write a successful CV and gain insight into different disciplines, supporting them to choose the career path that best matches their qualifications and skills as they engage in activities and games that QCDC has specifically designed to suit these age groups. Thousands of children are visiting these centers every year and are positively impacted through QCDC’s age-suitable career guidance tools.

    Supporting People with Special Needs

    QCDC has also been keen to assist students with special needs in building their employability and social integration skills, as well as advocate to Qatar’s wide public and to specific relevant stakeholders, amongst which are different industries and major organizations, the need to assist and support people with special needs as they endeavor to better integrate within the labor market and the workplace specifically, and society in general.

    This was achieved through the “Career Readiness Program”, which comes under a proposed framework for the enhancement of career guidance provision for students with mild and moderate learning challenges, including autism, using international experience and adapting the best models into the local context and needs.

     

    The program was piloted in 2018 after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between QCDC and Awsaj Academy, both members of Qatar Foundation. The program aimed at assuring families that their children’s education is leading to a valued outcome; educating employers on how to integrate the concerned population into their operations, as stipulated by Qatari Law; and bringing awareness to the larger community about barriers students are facing and how to lift them.

    Moreover, QCDC established several strategic partnerships and stakeholder relationships, including one with MADA, in relation to adopting as well as promoting international accessibility standards. The aim of this collaboration is to promote digital inclusiveness and build a digital community for people with functional limitations, including those with disabilities and the elderly. It also seeks to empower and help students with disabilities in identifying their goals beyond the education phase so that they can develop their skills, as well as, raise community awareness about the role of digital access in empowering and integrating people with disabilities into the society.

    Despite all these enormous efforts, QCDC felt that there are many challenges facing the process of developing a solid and efficient career guidance system in Qatar and that all the efforts exerted in this respect are scattered across the country, especially with the lack of a national-level entity responsible for regulating, monitoring, and developing career guidance across various sectors. Therefore, QCDC called for engaging all relevant stakeholders in a collaborative process to effectively address the challenges concerned.

    A National Platform to Unite Efforts

    To that end, QCDC organized the Career Guidance Stakeholders Platform under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and in partnership with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The Platform was originally envisioned as an informal cross-sector network intended to engage career guidance stakeholders in reflective processes for collaboration, innovation and exchange of knowledge and best practices to advance career guidance as a powerful means for personal, educational and socio-economic success of Qatar and its people. Examples of the stakeholders engaged include policy and decision-makers at various levels; education, labor market and career guidance institutions; career guidance practitioners, administrators, researchers and clients such as students, and job seekers.

     

    Based on focus group methodology, the Platform participants were engaged in a series of innovation activities in order to validate specific sets of issues hindering the development of Qatar’s career guidance system, and to develop sound recommendations capable of delivering short-term benefits for various stakeholders and paving the way for long-term system enhancement.

    The Platform is followed up with a validation session devoted to presenting the views, insights and ideas that were generated aiming to capture them in an overarching report, as well as with quarterly stakeholders’ meetings to ensure the Platform’s recommendations are being implemented. The Platform results in different types of outcomes and recommendations on national, education sector and labor market levels.

    QCDC has always been proud of what it achieved so far, with all the successful awareness programs and innovative initiatives that mark a significant milestone in the journey of the center to cement its position as a beacon of career guidance in Qatar and as a catalyst for economic and social development. The center remains committed to guiding the youth into choosing the right career path and equipping them with the necessary skills to excel in the workplace. This will eventually lead to developing a highly qualified workforce that meets the needs of the local labor market and to empowering the youth, who represent the backbone of the nation, to cope with current and future economic challenges.

    QCDC will continue to work with a steady determination to place Qatar on the path of excellence, and will remain the kernel of creative career programs and services that support the career development of the youth, and which will serve as an inexhaustible fount for Qatar’s bright future.

    Contact Us

    QCDC

    Do