Known as the National Occupational Skill Standards and Curriculum Development Project, the programme is becoming widely recognised as the most up-to-date vocational training system in the world. Work completed in phase one is being distributed to training organisations on CD and through the internet.
The Project is managed by the General Organisation for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVOT) in partnership with BAE Systems.
The second phase agreement was signed in Riyadh on 28th February 2004 / 8 Muharram 1425, at the GOTEVOT offices by the governor of GOTEVOT, His Excellency Dr Ali Al Ghafis and the Director of Economic Development of BAE Systems, Mr Mike Wallace. It was witnessed by the Minister of labor and Social Affairs and Chairman of GOTEVOT His Excellency Dr.Ali AL-Namlah.
The second phase will run from Muharram 1425 (2004 CE) for two years and builds on the overwhelming success of phase one, which ran from 1422 to 1424 (2001-2003). BAE Systems provides administrative assistance to GOTEVOT and access to international resources, as well as funding. SR 11 million has been provided for phase one and SR 20 million for phase two.
The National Occupational Skill Standards and Curriculum Development Project is a key platform in workplace reform in Saudi Arabia. Its aim is to improve training and qualifications for skilled trades and to bring them into line with actual labour market needs. This is achieved by involving the private sector in setting the standards and defining the training requirements. The ultimate result will be a significant increase in job opportunities for Saudi graduates.
The Project brings together tradesmen and employers from the private sector and educationalists from public sector institutions. Once agreement is reached on the standards for a particular trade, then course curricula are produced. The standards and the training courses will be applied fully to all educational establishments across the Kingdom. The programme will bring the abilities of graduates exactly into line with the expectations of employers, boosting job prospects for tens of thousands of Saudi job seekers each year.
Through its management of the Project, GOTEVOT forms committees of specialists who create the standards and training materials. The organisation also reviews what is required in terms of the training infrastructure in the Kingdom, and measures training results and the capability of trainers. It conducts benchmarking against skills development systems in other countries, particularly Australia, Malaysia and Canada.
In addition to being responsible for the vocational training of 64,000 students, GOTEVOT will be able to increase its capacity by an additional 10,400 students a year using current facilities.
HE Dr Ali Al Ghafis, governor of GOTEVOT, commented that the results of phase one far exceeded original expectations. “It was anticipated that skill standards for about 60 occupations would be created in the first two years whereas, in the event, 126 have been produced. This work involved 360 people whose combined efforts totaled 800 man months.
“In phase one, 133 training curricula definitions were developed, involving 2,000 people. From these, 300 training packages have been produced using the skills of 700 specialists. These have been distributed to training establishments on CD and are freely available through our web site. As they are in Arabic, we welcome their use by anyone involved in training throughout the Arab world.
“Simply as a result of standardising training courses, considerable gains have been made by increasing the capacity of our training establishments. So far, additional efficiencies are allowing us to train 10,500 more students each year using the same infrastructure as we have at present.
“It has been a tremendous effort and we would like to express our gratitude to all who have contributed to the success of phase one. We are particularly delighted at BAE Systems’ continuing support which is making all this possible,” added Dr Ali.
Phase two of the programme targets the completion of a further 125 National Occupational Skill Standards; a further 200 training packages for colleges of technology, 400 for secondary technical institutes and 200 for vocational training centres. During the second phase, GOTEVOT will also develop a National Occupational Licensing System.
“We applaud the Saudi government’s initiative,” said Mike Wallace, director of economic development at BAE Systems. “Such has been the success of the last two years that we were delighted to sign on for the second phase. As a high technology company with a large Saudi workforce of 2,500, we believe we have a duty to support the development of technical skill standards in Saudi Arabia. It benefits society greatly and will also improve our own recruitment in the future.
“Best of all is that the qualifications and training being produced are pertinent to the precise needs of the Kingdom. GOTEVOT has not borrowed or adapted any other system, though it has studied and learned from other countries. This guarantees the overall success of the programme.
“Because of BAE Systems’ global presence, we have been involved in schemes in other countries which has helped GOTEVOT to benchmark the Saudi system. There is no doubt that what has been achieved to-date has made the GOTEVOT Project the world’s most up-to-date vocational training system and it will have a major impact in putting more Saudis into work.”
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