By Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle
Muscat, 07 June 2010: Lawrence Alva, originally from Moodubelle has made the village proud by occupying the prestigious position as the General Manager of the National Training Institute (NTI) in Muscat since 2004, the first Indian to do so. The NTI is a premier training institute in the Sultanate of Oman that provides varieties of courses to young people, especially Omanis. The life and career of Lawrence since he left the village after 7th standard till he occupied the coveted position as the General Manager of NTI has been quite challenging and inspiring.
Born on 5th September 1959, Lawrence is fourth among six children of Isac Alva (Ijju Bhot) and late Christine Alva of Moodubelle. Among his two sisters, eldest-Sr. Shaila has joined the Bethany Congregation and is presently working in Orissa and the other sister, Veronica is married and resides in Vamanjoor near Mangalore. All three of his brothers-Gabriel, Calisth and Henry are in Moodubelle carrying on their own businesses. Lawrence’s father, Isaac had been dealing with religious articles for the past sixty years, a business that is carried forward by Henry, the last brother of Lawrence.
Lawrence had his primary and higher primary education in the Church Aided Higher Primary School in Moodubelle. As it was the period when priests, nuns and bothers from religious congregations used to visit different parishes to motivate young boys and girls to join their respective congregations, Lawrence was selected by the congregation of Montfort Brothers. On completing 7th standard, Lawrence went to Kazipet near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh where the Montfort Brothers have their formation house in which young aspirants are given further education and being trained to join the religious congregation.
In Kazipet, Lawrence contin ued his education from 8th standard up to SSLC which he cleared in 1975. Thereafter, he did two years Pre University Course at Hyderabad (1977). After the mandatory education up to the Pre University, Lawrence was sent to Sitagarh in Hazaribagh District of Bihar for the religious formation training where he took his first vows in 1979.
After the initial religious formation training, Lawrence went back to Hyderabad where the Montfort Brothers’ Congregation gave him an opportunity to pursue higher studies either in academics or technical education. After considerable deliberation and weighing the pros and cons of both the choices, Lawrence finally opted for the technical education. Today he is very happy that he took the right decision at the right time.
As Lawrence was good in Music, especially playing guitar, he was an integral part of the church choir. He was chiefly responsible for starting the choir in Our lady of Health Church at Khairatabad in Hyderabad during 1979-82. He also started the choir at Kazipet during 1982-85.
In the technical field, Lawrence chose the Electrical Engineering Diploma course which he completed in three years in 1982. After acquiring the diploma, Lawrence went to Kazipet where he worked for further three years from 1982 to 1985 as instructor and Vice Principal of Fatima Industrial Training Centre where he taught Machine Technology, Engineering Drawing and Applied Mathematics. Meanwhile, he had to make up his mind and take the final vows as the member of the Montfort Brothers Religious Congregation. In order to reflect and make his final decision on committing himself permanently to religious life, Lawrence was sent to Bangalore for a year of preparation. At the end of this phase, after a considerable amount of deliberation and introspection, Lawrence finally decided to leave the congregation in January 1987.
Being out of the secured institutional life and support system, after quitting the Montfort Brothers’ Congregation, Lawrence had to practically start from the scratch. In his own words, Lawrence found himself on the streets of Bangalore. In order to sustain himself, he started taking up some odd jobs such as taking private tuitions. As Lawrence had a background of music he helped in setting up choir in the Resurrection Church at Indiranagar in Bangalore. As he knew some Convents, Lawrence also would go around and teach music and also English to the aspirants who wanted to become nuns in these Convents. Meanwhile, Lawrence completed BA in administration as well as a Post-graduate Diploma in Systems Management from NIIT.
The very first job that was taken up by Lawrence in the pursuit of a career was in an organisation called ‘Skills for Progress’ as the Projects Coordinator-Vocational Training at Brigade Road, Bangalore. This was a ’not-for-profit’ All India Association of over 200 Private Charitable Technical Schools. This Association was started by a Jesuit priest meant generally for Christian missionary organisations. In the capacity as the Projects Coordinator, Lawrence travelled practically all over India. His responsibilities involved Technical Training Needs Analysis, development, implementation and supervision of training programmes including design and delivery of staff training programmes across India.
Realising the ability and managerial capacity of Lawrence, he was appointed as the Principal of St. Mary’s Industrial Training Institute in Bangalore. He was responsible for the total management of the institute including training operations and business development to financially sustain the institute as it was attached to an orphanage.
After stabilising his life and career to some extent in Bangalore, Lawrence felt that he should have a life-partner and married Irene D’Souza, a Goan settled down in Hyderabad and working in the Indian Overseas Bank. Their marriage took place in Bangalore in 1990.
After his marriage to Irene, the fortunes of Lawrence took a turn for better. As the sisters and few other family members of Irene were in Muscat, Lawrence was persuaded by Irene to try his luck in Muscat. Lawrence landed in Muscat in 1991 on a visitor’s visa and started looking out for a job especially in education and training sector as he had the necessary expertise. In his quest for an appropriate opportunity, Lawrence was not required to wait for long time. Within fifteen days he got a break in the National Training Institute (NTI).
Lawrence joined NTI as a Training Coordinator in 1991 and since then never looked back. The thought of leaving the institute did not cross his mind in spite of other lucrative offers and continued serving in NTI with sincerity, dedication and commitment to develop the institute which gradually saw him rising in the management hierarchy of the institute finally enabling him to acquire the present position as the General Manager of NTI, a coveted position which he occupied as the first Indian after a series of British General Managers.
The rise of Lawrence in NTI has been phenomenal. From 1991 to 1996, he was Training Coordinator; from 1996 to 2002 he was Technical Training Manager; between 2002 and 2003, he occupied the position as Operations Manager for the whole of NTI and in 2004, Lawrence was promoted to the position of the General Manager of NTI, thus becoming the first non-British to occupy this position.
National training Institute (NTI) is an ISO 9001-2008 Company dedicated to excellence in Training and Education and is an acknowledged market leader in the field of training for employment solutions, besides imparting vital training in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), Information Technology (IT) and Executive Management Development Programmes. NTI is a part of the Education and Training Group (ETG) of Renaissance Services SAOG, a diversified multinational services company listed on Muscat Securities Market. NTI is predominantly engaged in training and development of local Omani workforce to world class standards and accreditations.
Lawrence strongly believed that for the personal advancement upgrading knowledge and acquiring additional qualifications was very essential. Thus, in spite of all odds, Lawrence acquired the Bachelor Degree in Administration from the Osmania University, Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Board of Technical Education, India, Post Graduate Diploma in Systems Management from NIIT, India and MBA in Educational Management from University of Leicester, UK.
Besides these educational qualifications, Lawrence also acquired Training and Development Qualifications such as Post Graduate Diploma in Training and Development (ISTD, India) and Advanced Certificate in Educational Management (University of Leicester, UK). Besides these, Lawrence also acquired Health and Safety Qualifications-NEBOSH National general certificate in Health and Safety from UK and Certificate in Communication Skills, Human Relations and Human Development.
Lawrence is the member of Chartered Management Institute (CMI) UK, Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, UK, Indian Society of Training and Development (ISTD) and American Welding Society (AWS).
As the General manager of NTI, Lawrence holds leadership responsibility for his business organisation comprising of six training centres with integrated HR consultancy and vocational training businesses, more than 150 staff and management, delivering assessment and selection, recruitment, career development and internationally accredited, competence based, employment training solutions to major blue chip customers and local government, with particular focus on effective localization of workforce.
In his capacity as the General Manager of NTI, Lawrence had an opportunity to visit many countries such as USA, England, Italy, Turkey, Tunisia, Cyprus, Thailand, Azerbaijan and of course most of the GCC countries. He speaks many languages including Konkani, English, Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil and Basic Arabic.
Lawrence and Irene are proud of their only son, Luvieen who was born on 8th September 1991. He studied up to 10th standard at the Indian School, Muscat. For further education, Luvieen along with his mother, Irene returned to India. After completing 12th standard in Little Flower Junior College at Hyderabad, Luvieen is pursuing engineering course in MJCET College at Hyderabad.
While studying in Muscat, Luvieen had been a very good cricketer and had the distinction of leading the Oman Under-15 National Cricket Team in the ACC Challenge Cup 2006 in Thailand. It was under the captaincy of Luvieen that the Oman Under-15 team became the champion in the ACC Challenge Cup, the first ever championship for Oman.
In spite of his busy schedule and onerous responsibilities, Lawrence finds time for social work. He was the member of the Parish Council as the representative of the Mangalorean community for two years at the Holy Spirit Church, Ghala. He is one of the strong pillars of Bellevision-Muscat and was its founder President. Since its inception, Lawrence has been providing various facilities and support to the activities of Bellevision-Muscat. Presently, Lawrence is the Chairman of Bellevision-Muscat.
When in Muscat, on my request to meet him for an interview for Bellevision.com, Lawrence obliged me and we had a wonderful interaction at his office in NTI. Later, he took me around inside the NTI, and I was amazed to see the excellent modern facilities that are being provided at the institute to impart training in various courses. Throughout my conversation with Lawrence, i found him to be extremely knowledgeable, simple, approachable and friendly.
Lawrence Alva’s philosophy of achievement can be summed up in the words that he spoke as the General Manager of NTI on the occasion of the BizPro Award distribution function in 2008. He said: “Competence is a combination of Knowledge, Skills and Attitude and cannot be taught at a business school, it has to be practiced and nurtured. All the participants of the BizPro award have demonstrated the grit and determination to succeed and grow. They are all winners in the true sense of the word.” Speaking at the BizPro Awards 2009, Lawrence Alva had said: “These awards are a celebration of the passion and commitment of business leaders in Oman, recognizing successful individuals and promoting them as role models.”
It is indeed a matter of great pride to the family of Lawrence Alva and Belleans that one of their own has achieved great heights in the education and training field and has occupied such a high position in one of the most prestigious educational and training institutes in the Sultanate of Oman.
Bellevision salutes Lawrence Alva on his great achievements in the education and training sector in one of the prestigious training institutes in Muscat.
Bellevision Media Network.