Vocational training takes off

Updated 04 September 2013
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Vocational training takes off

The state-owned Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has enrolled more than 100,000 young Saudi boys and girls for vocational training as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce dependence on foreign workers.
On completion of the training programs, these graduates will be absorbed by public and private sector organizations operating in different sectors across the Kingdom.
Giving an overview of the TVTC’s growing operation and its newly opened training facilities in the Kingdom, Gov. Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafis said the corporation was committed to providing training and job opportunities to its citizens and to develop a public-private partnership initiative to accomplish the goals of nationalization of the work force.
“These male and female trainees have joined training programs at the TVTC facilities in different parts of the Kingdom, as the new training year began last Sunday,” said Al-Ghafis.
He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, government agencies and private companies that have lent support to the TVTC in executing the training programs.
Al-Ghafis said the current academic year has seen the launch of several new technical college projects. The move, he said, is primarily designed to raise the enrollment capacity and upgrade training programs with the aim of ensuring employment of Saudi boys and girls.
In fact, the TVTC has set up 10 colleges of excellence, which will be operational this year.
“The establishment of these colleges and several other colleges of technology, including special exclusive institutes for girls, comes as the Kingdom’s answer to expand and reform the training system,” said Gov. Al-Ghafis, predicting a cumulative enrollment of over 450,000 students by 2020 at TVTC facilities.
He pointed out that new training facilities have been opened in different provinces, where a variety of technical specialties, such as automobile training, office management, accountancy, multimedia and computer (technical support) are being taught. Several other vocational training courses include networking, electronics, food production technology, fabrication and designing.
Al-Ghafis said that the training programs focus on laying a “firm foundation” that will encourage Saudi students to make a lifelong commitment to learning and developing their career paths.
He said: “One of the key developmental projects to be implemented by the TVTC in the coming year is the introduction of bachelor degree program in three technical colleges.”
He pointed out that the English Language Program (ELP) has also been introduced in a number of colleges in Jazan, Najran, Baha, Tabuk, Jouf, Northern Border, Buraida, and Ahsa.
The program is meant to improve trainees’ linguistic skills and to master the English language, which is being widely used in the Kingdom and across the world.


Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

Updated 32 min 50 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it has delayed by three days the launch of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the oil-reliant Kingdom seeks to diversify.
King Salman had been scheduled on Wednesday to launch construction of the 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, touted as the Kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.
“King Salman will inaugurate next Saturday the Qiddiya project, which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, without explaining the delay.
Construction for the first phase of development, which would include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger has said the project in the entertainment-starved Kingdom is expected to draw foreign investment, but gave no figures.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with plans for three hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but skeptics question their viability.
Aside from Qiddiya, the Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, architect of a sweeping reform program dubbed “Vision 2030.”
The reforms stem partly from a motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said it would stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.