Skills shortage greatest obstacle to Doha's Metro
Arabian MEP boss tells MEP forum manpower requirements could quadruple
The greatest challenge that will be faced in delivering the MEP work required for Qatar's $36bn worth of rail work planned will be in being able to bring in enough skilled staff into the country, according to Arabian MEP CEO Vasanth Kumar.
Giving a keynote presentation at the MEP conference 2013 at Doha's Courtyard by Marriott hotel today, Kumar said that the likely number of skilled MEP staff who will be needed to deliver projects such as the Doha Metro, the light rail systems, and the passenger and freight railway systems, is likely to peak between 2015-18, as civil contracting elements for the Metro move towards completion in the final quarter of 2017 to allow for a two-year period of testing and commissioning.
Kumar estimated that the numbers of skilled MEP staff required is likely to blossom from around 5,000 in 2014 up to 30,000 in 2015-18. A drop is then expected until a second peak of around 20,000 staff that will be required to complete the second phase of theMetro, which is due to conclude in 2026.
He argued that authorities "should consider a temporary relaxation" of Visa restrictions in order to ensure that Qatar has enough skilled staff to complete the required MEP work - particularly as other cities in the GCC including Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah begin developing their own Metro systems.
Moreover, he argued that many of the countries in Asia from which contractors have traditionally recruited are experiencing strong growth rates of their own, which means "not many people are willing to travel abroad due to opportunities in their own countries".