The Emirates Classification Society (TASNEEF), the first Arab Classification Society founded with the aim of improving the maritime industry’s security and safety has been a frontrunner in terms of adopting the latest technology for enhanced service offerings. This, along with the assimilation of ambitious UAE Nationals within the entity’s infrastructure is its key strength. Through various efforts and initiatives, TASNEEF has encouraged the participation of women in the maritime industry, thus bridging the gender gap and capitalising on the added value women add to the industry through their unique skill sets.
Plan Approval Engineers at TASNEEF, Ayesha Al Saadi, Shaikha Al Alawi and Rawan Al Katheeri, spoke to Marasi News about their work at TASNEEF, highlighting the company’s efforts to increase female participation in their workforce.
What prompted you to take up engineering and what was the turning point in your career?
Ayesha Al Saadi: What prompted me initially to take up engineering was my love for Mathematics as a kid. After that I decided to study in a high school that teaches basic engineering and then went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering. My turning point was my work placement, which was in a shipbuilding company, and that is where I decided that I would like to pursue a career in the maritime industry.
Rawan Al Katheeri: As a kid, I always liked to solve problems in various ways. In engineering, I found ample opportunities to solve problems as per the set requirements and prevailing conditions. My turning point came when I joined TASNEEF. I am a mechanical engineer by profession, so I usually work with cars and machines. TASNEEF is a company that directs a lot of focus towards the maritime industry. As the company worked closely with ships, it was a new learning opportunity for me. TASNEEF helped me a lot in terms of understanding and learning the importance of this field, and is one of the main reasons behind me pursuing a career in the sector.
Shaikha Al Alawi: I got into engineering due to my personal interest. I love to challenge myself and think out of the box, and the engineering field enabled me to do that by solving some of the most critical problems. My turning point was when my university helped me reach out to and work with TASNEEF, where I could apply my knowledge and skills.
Tasneef has always prioritised Emiratisation. How has this policy contributed to your success story as a woman professional in the company?
Al Katheeri: As a fresh graduate, I joined TASNEEF during the pandemic, a time when the whole word was facing a crisis, and countries were struggling to create job opportunities for its citizens. At that point in time, TASNEEF made use of Emiratisation in order to give the citizens of the UAE a chance to join their workforce. The UAE was putting in tremendous efforts to prove to the rest of the world that despite the difficult situation, the nation will continue to work hard and give its best to ensure continuity in business.
Al Saadi: TASNEEF has always prioritised Emiratisation. It is one of the main reasons why I have been able to successfully become the first Emirati plan approval engineer. Our management and the leaders have always encouraged and pushed us to perform better and be the best versions of ourselves.
Al Alawi: To sum it up, I believe that the Emiratisation policy in TASNEEF is by far one of the most advantageous for the citizens of the UAE as it has helped us build a career for ourselves in the country and grow in it.
What initiatives has the entity taken to encourage the female workforce and promote empowerment?
Al Alawi: TASNEEF has given us the opportunity to learn important aspects of the industry through six months of technical training, in addition to the job trainings that helped us a lot in terms of polishing our skills.
Al Saadi: Out of the many initiatives introduced by TASNEEF, the one that stands out for me is the fact that it has provided us with an open-door policy where we can clarify our doubts and get advised directly by our mentors or colleagues.
Al Katheeri: TASNEEF has taken us on various field trips so that we can understand job requirements, especially when we work on field and have to do many theoretical calculations. Having this opportunity has helped us drastically improve our understanding.
In today’s world, men and women are on par. Your take on gender equity in your workspace?
Al Saadi: TASNEEF gives both, men and women, an equal opportunity to apply for any role available in the company. Male and female employees are given the same training and opportunities to progress in their respective careers.
Al Alawi: I feel that the transparency of the processes at TASNEEF have given us the comfort and opportunity to express ourselves as females working in a male-centric field.
Al Katheeri: Let’s say about 20 years ago, such opportunities were not available for women. If you carefully examine the available data, you would notice that the industry has transformed a lot and a lot more women are a part of the field now. The opportunity given to us by TASNEEF has helped us as women to compete in the industry.
The UAE government has taken significant steps to infuse women in the workforce. Within the UAE government, two-thirds of the workforce are female, with 30% in leadership roles and 15% in technical and academic roles. Would this increase the participation of women in the field of engineering?
Al Saadi: Well of course, I believe that such steps and efforts will surely increase the participation of women in any field. However, this will require a spread of awareness regarding the field of engineering amongst the females of the society.
Al Alawi: I totally agree with that, such awareness must be created at schools and universities. Moreover, I believe that the leading organisations in the country should also contribute towards creating this awareness.
What is your advice for budding women engineers who wish to explore opportunities in class societies?
Al Alawi: The only advice I would like to give to the females out there is to keep pushing yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
Al Saadi: My advice to all the aspiring females out there is to find a good mentor to learn and know more about class societies, in order to take an informed decision regarding their careers.
Al Katheeri: As I am aware of the fact that the Classification industry is new to the UAE, I would really recommend people to go out and learn more about it to be able to explore the opportunities that lie in it for them.