JEDDAH: More than 700 jobs are being made available to students and graduates from Jeddah’s International Technical Female College (ITFC) through a partnership with the Saudi Human Resource Development Fund (Hadaf).
The college, which hosted a jobs and careers fair at the weekend, said the opportunities were available to current students and graduates.
ITFC CEO and principal, Sunaina Mann OBE, said the college prepared students from the outset to become employees and part of the workforce.
“There are other skills that are of great importance to employers, such as attendance, punctuality, motivation, being able to work on your own and being able to work as part of a team,” she told Arab News. “These are more important to them (employers) than knowing the job because they usually train them on the job. So we are giving the students the mindset, we give them the values that we got used to when we were going to a workplace in the UK.”
Prospective employees should have excellent written and verbal communication skills, as well as possessing good IT skills, she said.
The college received positive feedback from employers about students, she added. “They say that the students have the right motivation, they are always there to be able to help (and that) the technical knowledge is what they have been looking for.”
Its annual job fair was held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was attended by nearly 700 Saudi-based delegates, the majority of whom said the fair was well organized. A college statement said that almost 100 percent of job seekers at the fair had applied for at least one vacancy.
An industry and employer forum, hosted by the college ahead of the fair, attracted local and national employers. They shared their skill gaps and shortages with college leaders and teachers so that their insights could be embedded in teaching, learning, assessment and to future-proof the ITFC’s curriculum provision.
Deputy CEO of the college, Earl Laird said there were over 20 employers at the job fair offering 1,000 positions.
“There are recruitment agencies here with a vast number of job vacancies linked to local employers,” he told Arab News. “There are jobs for graphic designers, IT specialists, security, hospitality, marketing, business development, and we have got a hotel group that has significant job vacancies. They are all here to recruit graduate students and the students who are scheduled to graduate next June.”
Laird said the ITFC took employers’ opinions and remarks seriously, and that the college amended its curriculum accordingly.
“The students here have completed their vocational diplomas,” he added. “What we have done is to listen to what employers want. We have then provided the students with those qualifications, hence why there is such a good turnout and why there is a good employer turnout because they know that we are providing the jobs that they need.”
Dr. Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Tuwaijri heads the Colleges of Excellence, the authority overseeing ITFC. He said ITFC believed in opening channels of communication with partners to introduce students and graduates to job and training opportunities in the Saudi labor market, and searching for good job opportunities to attract female graduates and contribute to a reduction in the unemployment rate.
He added that the authority worked with Hadaf, chambers of commerce and partners in the public and private sectors to invest in training and career opportunities and showcase them to graduates. The job fair had had a major impact in supporting previous college graduates to secure employment, Al-Tuwaijri said.
ITFC offers five major specialisms: Sales, business studies, technical design, IT and occupational health and safety. It has a student body of more than 1,400.
Visitors to the job fair attended employability workshops and seminars. There were also interview opportunities, with some positions filled on the day.
“Our goal is not only to successfully provide them with the skills and practical knowledge, but for them to receive the necessary skills that the job market needs,” Feras Nasani, head of IT services at ITFC told Arab News. “For that reason, we are here to provide the job seekers and students with what skills they need in the future.”