450,000 Saudis to be trained

450,000 Saudis to be trained
Updated 14 November 2013

450,000 Saudis to be trained

450,000 Saudis to be trained

In a major move to cut down reliance on foreign workers, the government has rolled out a skills and training action plan that promises to meet the shortfall of skilled workers in the local market.
“About 450,000 Saudi boys and girls will be trained in different vocations over a period of five years under the new plan,” said Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafis, governor of Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), on Monday.
Al-Ghafis said the state-owned TVTC is working to set up 300 new vocational training facilities across the Kingdom. “All these vocational training centers — both for boys and girls — will be operational within three years,” Al-Ghafis told Arab News on the sidelines of a ceremony.
A contract to manage and operate a newly built Saudi Railway Polytechnic in Buraidah, the first of its kind in the region, was signed during the ceremony. According to the contract, the polytechnic will be managed and operated by the Riyadh-based Saudi Railway Company (SRC). The polytechnic will enroll about 100 Saudi students initially. But, the facility has the provision to increase the intake to 300 during the third year of its operation. This facility, promoted by stakeholders like TVTC, SAR, and Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), will start functioning during the first quarter of next year.
Asked about the shortfall in the labor market, that has hampered the plans of the contractors, Al-Ghafis said the TVTC currently has 100,000 trainees enrolled in its training facilities. These cadets will be shortly taking up jobs in different sectors, he added. “The government has taken the training program on a priority basis to ensure the availability of a pool of skilled Saudi workers.”
He said the Kingdom will have a large number of trained Saudis working in sectors like automotive, plastics, oil services, construction, energy, water and electricity, mining, aircraft maintenance, foods, and the hotel industry.
“Our plan is to encourage students to look at the technical trades and occupations in the market where shortages are emerging,” said another TVTC official, adding that the shortage of skills and talent is by no means limited to basic trades and skills.
“But, over the next five years, the skills gaps for higher levels of training will be much narrower as more and more Saudi boys and girls graduate every year,” he added.
Commenting on the Saudi commercial entities, especially the contracting sector that is currently facing enormous challenges with projects worth SR3 trillion expected to be completed by 2020, he said the problems would soon be over.