As Qatar’s economy continues to grow, so its demand for a highly skilled workforce appears insatiable. At Qatar University the focus is on developing innovative programmes to train Qataris, enabling them to drive their own country forward in the future and reducing the reliance on immigrant labour.
Life is Engineering is a project at QU which strives to open up the world of engineering to young Qataris, helping them understand its relevance to everyday life and encouraging more Qataris to follow a career in the field. The finals of this year’s industry-backed competition, held recently, saw four Qatari pupils celebrate their achievements after scooping first place, against 140 students from across the country, for the chance to design, build and race a car on Lusail international circuit, just north of Doha.
Every Saturday for several months, teams from 16 schools met at Qatar University for lessons and lectures on vehicle dynamics, combustion, vehicle transmission and road safety awareness, taught by industry leaders.
They were expected to compile a report on everything they’ve learned from their instructors as well as a design report for the vehicle. Then they had to assemble a model engine. The teams were assessed on communication and leadership skills as well as punctuality and attendance at their sessions.
The best six schools went through to round two where the teams worked to assemble and dismantle their kit cars. Student drivers and a co-pilot observer then raced their cars in time-trials at Lusail Circuit.
All the cars are expected to be capable of speeds of up to 240kph, but these are capped at 120kph, making driver skill the determining factor in this competition. There are for communication, dissemination of knowledge and ‘soft-skill’ values to team-mates, as well as use of social media and how well the car was assembled.
Awards were given to the teams best in communication, best in design and the overall winner.
Saud Abdulaziz Ghani (pictured), Director of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Qatar University, explained the importance of this competition to the development of Qatar’s workforce capability. He said: “The future of Qatar lies in its own people, so there is a real drive to nurture good engineers. This project tackles some preconceptions – that engineering takes too long and is too hard – and deals with the issue at a grassroots level. We show how engineering affects all aspects of life and try to make the discipline real and accessible – and interesting – to the students.”
Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, from RasGas, said: “Projects like this inspire our youth to open up new frontiers in science, engineering and technology that will propel a whole generation of thinkers and movers that will make the future of Qatar even brighter and more promising.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.