UAE contracting giant ALEC eyes 'multitaskers' for future workforce

EXCLUSIVE: Hercu Viljoen and Imad Itani say ALEC's workforce may well feature data analysis-savvy engineers in the future

ALEC is among the UAE's largest construction companies.
ALEC is among the UAE's largest construction companies.

As it doubles down on advanced construction technologies, UAE contracting giant ALEC will increasingly look to employ workers that can multitask and dabble in a variety of skills, the firm’s managing director for related businesses, Hercu Viljoen, told Construction Week.

“Innovation is a survival thing – if we don’t innovate or adjust what we do today, we will be extinct tomorrow," Viljoen said in conversation with Construction Week during its weekly Viewpoint podcast episode.

“We have to get to a point where we can build our products more efficiently, in a factory, and then go and bolt them together,” he added, noting ALEC's shift towards modular construction.

ALEC's innovation manager, Imad Itani, who joined Viljoen in the Construction Week Viewpoint studio, added: “The good thing is that lots of technologies are maturing,

“Software like Bim [building information technology] is already helping a lot.

“But people need to make up their mind early to utilise these software. We’ve been implementing Bim over the last couple of years. We are training the whole company to become ‘Bim mature’ across all levels, not just within the Bim team.”

With this in mind, Viljoen said ALEC’s future workforce would “be slightly different”, especially since technologies such as Bim, robotics, and 3D printing were “already coming into our industry”.

He added: “We will [definitely] be employing a different profile in the future – someone that's not just a civil engineer or a [quantity surveyor].

"The important thing to note is that – maybe not next year. but in five years’ time – we will need people who can multitask."

“You need a civil engineer with data analytics skills, for example.

"There might be robots doing the work and you have to analyse how to do it better. That’s where we are going, and that’s very exciting. The industry is going to be transformed in the next five years.”

ALEC’s full podcast with Construction Week will be made available at noon (Dubai time) on Monday, 24 June, 2019 through Construction Week’s SoundCloud and iTunes accounts.

Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with all podcasts from CW Viewpoint.

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