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Friday, March 5, 2021

Hiring of special needs employees in focus after Qatar Airways pledge

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A commitment by one of Qatar’s most high-profile employers to hire 50 residents with intellectual disabilities has officials hoping that other companies will be inspired to launch similar recruitment campaigns.

The Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs runs a job training program for individuals between the ages of 18 and 27 years old that equips students with social, language and practical workplace skills.

Learning the basics of data entry, filing, mailing, photocopying and reception duties allows them to be matched up with employers.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Since launching some six years ago, the center has matched 44 graduates with employers in government ministries and the private sector, according to Siddiqa Darwish, who heads the job training department.

However, she told Doha News that she hopes to match an additional 100 students in 2015 alone, largely on the strength of a commitment by Qatar Airways, announced today, to hire 50 Shafallah graduates by the end of 2015.

At a press conference today, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the new hires would be paid at the same rate as other staff members.

“They will be treated exactly as any other employee,” he told reporters.

The law

Under Qatar law, all private sector organizations employing more than 25 people should have at least one person on its workforce with special needs.

While some companies strive to embrace inclusionary hiring practices, others fail comply with this regulation, particularly in sectors like retail, which involve face-to-face interaction with the public.

There are other challenges in bringing more residents with intellectual and physical disabilities into the workforce.

Gaby Salom, the general manager of local furnishings store The One Qatar, recently told Doha News that some people are prevented from joining his company by their families. He explained:

“I think they were afraid of their challenged relative working in a public setting, and they felt shame. But I see working in retail as a great opportunity – you have the chance to change society’s mindset and try to get rid of the stigma that exists around this issue.”

Currently, only a handful of special needs employees work for the national carrier.

Garangao gifts, 2013
Garangao gifts, 2013

Four Shafallah graduates began working at Qatar Airways’ catering department in 2012, according to Nabeela Fakhri, vice-president of human resources employee services. A fifth later joined to assist with office filing.

The relationship between the airline and Shafallah later expanded to include specific projects, in which students prepared the amenity kits distributed to passengers in first and business class, as well as special Ramadan and National Day gifts given to travelers at the airport.

Darwish said the center currently has 145 graduates and students who are currently enrolled in Shafallah’s job training program, which typically runs two to three months.

While not all of them will be matched with an employer, she said she hopes that other companies and government departments take notice of Qatar Airways’ initiative.

“We want (our graduates) to be developing skills by working in the community and dealing with people,” she told Doha News.

Thoughts?

28 COMMENTS

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Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

only doing what they should have been doing for years, but an embarrassment they still discriminate against employees in a relationship, or heaven forbid, wanting to start a family !

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

I would like to see more Qatarisation of the Cabin Crew.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Because it is highly selective that Qataris can get the job? Do you even understand Qatarization? What a clown.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Being cabin crew is not a highly selective job and should be left to those with lesser lots in life.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

I am simply stating that it would be nice if the Qatari community were represented amongst the ranks of the CC in the same way that they are represented amongst the pilots. If you are suggesting that being CC is beneath the average Qatari then may I inform you that in my life I have encountered many many men and women who are very well qualified doing this job. I would also like to remind you that your chances of survival in an emergency are influenced by those very people you seem to look down upon. Isn’t one of the aims of Qatarization that the country be able to rely on Qataris and not foreigners to do the work?

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

I never looked down on them, I just argued against your statement. Why would anyone settle for worse paying job and condition (too much travel) when he can get better offer?!

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Ok, I misunderstood what you were saying. Having that said travel is seen by people who work in the industry as a wonderful thing. To be honest though I don’t think that travel would be the stumbling block.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

A night here and a night there is not really travel. Have many friends in the business and it’s not that glamourous.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

I gave you an up vote for your understanding of the industry.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

That means less seats for the traveller with the maid, driver, gardener doing the work while their Qatari owners eat, drink and do nothing.

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

..talking about relationships, sometimes we are left wondering about this employees who come here to work and are hardly here for a few months then they suddenly want to get into relationships and even want to start a family while they have a family back home. How about first if this employees concentrate on what they have been brought here for and contribute to making their organization a successful and profitable one.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

Do you know a lot about this?

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

what garbage – they are employed to do a job and have a right to do what they like out of hours, including having a relationship, and a fundamental right to have a famiiy if they so wish – they are employed, not owned !!

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

UN Convention on HR.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

This is either the greatest sarcasm I’ve seen on this site or the most unintentionally hilarious post I’ve seen on this site.

Not being able to distinguish between the two worries me…

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

I thought he was being funny but I don’t think so now.

Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Without knowing whether the original post was intended to be serious or sarcastic I can express a degree of agreement.

The expat workforce in Qatar is here to work. Expats are not immigrants seeking to make Qatar their permanent home. Their terms of engagement are clear and unambiguous. Residence is dependent on work and when work finishes they go home.

If more expats realised this and simply focused on the work that they are employed to do while planning and saving for their future at home they would be happier and more efficient.

Returning to the original topic the point that special needs people should not be just given sinecures to make the corporate statistics look good but opportunities to make a real contribution is an important one.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

100% Correct! Expats expecting to have any sort of happiness or relationships outside of their work that they were brought here for is certainly outside of the intent of their employment contract. Certainly their happiness would be enhanced if they did not need to worry about basic human needs for relationships or the desires to be loved or to love another. It should always be about the work and serving the people that they were hired to serve. I too doubt the sarcasm of the post and find much relief in the support of the other comments that expats seeking anything other than money should either return home or simply put those desires aside until such a time that they are able to return home and explore those possibilities. Only in work and service will they find the true happiness that they seek!
That said, I think this should be true for when people from Qatar visit other places as well. When Qataris travel they should certainly not expect to find happiness or even be permitted to seek a relationship outside of Qatar. Their passports should be taken upon arrival in the host country and their movements strictly controlled to ensure that they do not stray from their native culture as to ensure it is preserved, after all, the host country likely knows whats best for them. They should be regulated in ensuring that they stick only to the agenda that was their intent upon entry. If it was to go shopping at Harrods or stay at a hotel, then they should be limited to those actions. If they are on a student visa, the students should be given special accommodation, far form the other student populations to ensure that they do not dilute their culture with those of the west or east. Of course the hosts should provide adequate forms of transportation to ensure they can make the journey. While in pursuit of the academics they should only be permitted to study and not form any relationships with any other persons, even those of Qatari decent, as expecting such forms of human normality should be put on hold until they return, as in their studies they should find all the happiness they need! These people whether on study, business, or leisure should only be permitted to go shopping on Friday evening at centers designated for them to be, especially if they are single. Upon the completion of their intended stay, the visiting nationals should be screened to ensure that all their moving violations have been paid and that any bills outstanding paid in full prior to being given permission from their hosts to leave the country. All persons with outstanding debts should be immediately jailed and have all access to money and communications taken away until such time that they are able to materialize the money that is owed. Only in this will the nationals find their happiness that they sought!
And back to the topic of this post – yes people with disabilities, especially learning disabilities should be given a chance to succeed in life and be happy.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

You are being sarcastic right?

Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Actually I wasn’t being sarcastic. Expats are not forced to work in Qatar.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Wow then that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve heard. I met my wife while living in another ME country, married 25 yrs and 3 wonderful children. Glad I don’t live in your world.

Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

What is idiotic about the statements that “Expats are not forced to work in Qatar” or that “The Expat workforce is in Qatar to work”?

Extrapolating individual experience to the wider population does not necessarily result in a representative conclusion. The great majority of expats in Qatar are here on single status, living in dormitory accommodation, have little disposable income and spend most of their waking hours at work. This does not leave much scope for a personal life but why should it? If we are content to agree to these working conditions because it will enable us to save for the future then why should an employer have any concern.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

You sound like an George Orwell book.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

there are some people who can live like that. There are groups here in Qatar who have to live like that whether they want to or not. But I must say your summation that this is what all expats should do and be expected to accept is rather depressing and dire.
We are human beings, not automatons.

Cerberus’ flip side makes you see how illogical the whole set up here is.
And yes of course we don’t have to be here. We can leave anytime ( one hopes) blah blah blah. Such comments don’t invite dialogue and do not solve misunderstandings.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

This is a good imitative, all should have a chance to contribute to society.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

I’ll be honest, I’m all for any initiative for giving those less fortunate an opportunity. Many kudos to the Shafallah center. But knowing the greedy business practices of QR, and having to suffer through hearing the consistent PR debacle that is QR’s CEO, this self proclamation of awesomeness just rings hollow to me, like a “look at me” stunt.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

What I fear is that instead of giving them real life job experience and training them to be a contributor, if this even pans out at all, is that they give them nothing to do and you’ll find them on the IMacs at the airport and getting paid to stay out of the way.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

The comments in this post make my head hurt…..common sense is certainly not common.

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