JEDDAH: Students at a top Saudi school for girls are being given the chance to become the Kingdom’s entrepreneurs of the future by running their own business venture.
Dar Al-Fikr School, in Jeddah, has launched an innovative educational and community initiative aimed at arming students with the vital skills required to succeed in the workplace environment.
The Dar Al-Fikr Intrapreneur Program (DIP) will see an area of the school set aside for the “20 Formation” event management company, which will be managed and staffed by students.
Majdah Afandi, director of Dar Al-Fikr Schools and DIP founder, told Arab News: “I believe that grade 12 students should be exposed to the practical part of the world before they reach college level, but it is often hard to take them outside of school to do that.
“Therefore, we decided to build our own space and cover all the knowledge and skills needed in any employee by offering students the full experience of soft skills in a three-courses program.
“No matter how much knowledge lectures are delivering to students, if soft skills are not practiced and experienced by them it will never occur through theoretical teaching. So, we will apply all the skills that the country is calling for during this era of growth,” she added.
DIP project manager, Lujain Al-Sarahi, said the school had an annual graduation project for grade 12 students but wanted to make this year more challenging.
“DIP offers internal training that will enable students to open a company within the school, the core business of it being event management. It will include all the departments necessary to serve the company,” added Al-Sarahi.
The initiative is believed to be the first pre-college graduation program of its kind to be set up in the Kingdom and will involve students in theoretical and practical course work along with action research, to give them the independent know-how and leadership skills to run a modern business.
The program will culminate with the young intrapreneurs making a presentation about their business project to a school conference attended by outside industry experts who will assess their work.
Scheme organizers have established a training company with its own capital funds and 44 students have been enrolled in the program as interns for two days a week, holding positions in the enterprise and planning actual events.
In order to join the company, students had to go through a professional recruitment process involving them attending workshops, an internal job fair, and creating CVs and portfolios to fit their roles.
Laila Shaaban, 17, a student and 20 Formation company employee, hoped the initiative would help define her future career path.
“In this company, I am employed as a graphic designer. I will be exposed to many different fields of experience so I can focus on what I want to be and do after graduation, either in college or in business.
“The company will help us anywhere we go whether its part of a workforce, at home or university,” she added.
Mission of DIP: To deliver extraordinary events from inside and outside the school and to make a difference in the event planning sector in Jeddah.
The company will include human resources, finance and accounting departments and will have social media, public relations, and graphic design committees.
44 students are already enrolled in the company and will be working on action research during the year.
The main focuses of the program are communication, negotiation skills, time management, and creative thinking.