Saudi ministry creates ‘skill development’ strategy to enhance Saudization

Abdullah Abuthnain (left) speaking at the opening session of the First Scientific Conference for Labor Market Research, Studies, and Indicators in Riyadh. (Supplied/HRDF)
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Abdullah Abuthnain (left) speaking at the opening session of the First Scientific Conference for Labor Market Research, Studies, and Indicators in Riyadh. (Supplied/HRDF)
Saudi ministry creates ‘skill development’ strategy to enhance Saudization
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Updated 17 May 2022

Saudi ministry creates ‘skill development’ strategy to enhance Saudization

Abdullah Abuthnain speaking at the opening session of the conference. (HRDF)
  • The ministry has established a “forecasting of supply and demand” unit within the human capacity development program, which will provide researchers with data, information and insights into labor market trends

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development is focusing on a skills strategy to improve professional standards for workers and those entering the labor market, according to Abdullah Abuthnain, the vice minister.

Abuthnain said that the strategy will benefit more than 200 professions, with skills councils establishing employment standards, as well as on-the-job training programs, in important economic sectors.

FASTFACT

The strategy will benefit more than 200 professions, with skills councils establishing employment standards, as well as on-the-job training programs, in important economic sectors.

The vice minister made his comments during the inaugural Scientific Conference for Labor Market Research, Studies and Indicators, organized by the National Labor Observatory, an affiliate of the Human Resources Development Fund, in collaboration with Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University.




Academics and professionals gathered in Riyadh on Tuesday for the First Scientific Conference for Labor Market Research, Studies, and Indicators organized by Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University.  (Supplied/HRDF)

During the opening session of the two-day conference in Riyadh on Tuesday, Abuthnain said that Saudi Arabia’s labor market is presently in “a phase of big reforms,” including eight strategic labor market themes and 25 development initiatives.

The ministry has established a “forecasting of supply and demand” unit within the human capacity development program, which will provide researchers with data, information and insights into labor market trends.

The unit identifies opportunities and challenges facing the labor market by issuing specialized reports showing future trends, he said, adding that the unit will primarily assist educational institutions in designing educational and training programs.

Abuthnain expressed optimism about the Kingdom’s labor market, which has seen “positive developments in its indicators and gains,” noting that more than 2 million Saudis now work in the private sector, “the highest figure historically speaking.”




Mohammad Aalmughaiseb, Director of Research and Studies Department at the National Labor Observatory (NLO), Dr. Abdullah Abuthnain, Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Development for Labor, Dr. Ahmed Al-Ameri, President of Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University, Dr. Lilac Al-Safadi, President of Saudi Electronic University and Dr. Enas Al-Issa, Director of Noura University. (Supplied/ HRDF)

Economic participation has reached 51 percent, while economic participation of Saudi women has also reached 35 percent, “the highest figure historically.”

Turki Al-Jawini, director-general of HRDF, said that the fund had redesigned support programs with a focus on the impact assessment and analysis of big data; their relevance to the needs of beneficiaries; the possibility of measuring their reach, impact and efficiency; and the application of a governance model that enables the fund to adjust the design of the program to suit changing market needs.

“We at HRDF will work to develop and implement labor market policies by creating a sustainable national workforce, developing human cadres’ skills, providing them with knowledge and qualifications, and aligning them with labor market and job needs,” he said.

“We will use a strategy that prioritizes the beneficiary in the design and delivery of works and services and modernizes the human resources system by utilizing visions and sketching future labor market directions.”

Al-Jawini said that the HRDF strategy focused on three main objectives: Reducing the gap between education outcomes and labor market needs, increasing the efficiency of matching supply and demand, and enabling sustainable employment for groups facing labor market challenges.

Among the most significant problems for graduates is understanding labor market needs, linking labor market requirements with their skills, having the necessary experience, and possessing the most in-demand soft skills.

Direct coaching and mentoring for leaders comes within the framework of programs that support and empower women in the labor market, he said.

About 1,000 female leaders benefited from the programs, which helped find jobs for more than 65,000 women in private sector companies. Around 3,500 Saudi mothers benefited from Qurrah, a program that supports child care.

Al-Jawini said that about 51,000 Saudi women employees benefited from Wusool, a program that supports transport for female workers. About 7,000 job-seekers were employed in 2021, thanks to the Tamheer program, which offers female workers on-the-job training.

Mishaal Aledwani, professor of administration and educational planning at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, said that Saudi universities are undergoing substantial change as a result of external developments, as well as advances in technology and knowledge development.

The Saudi labor market needs skilled graduates who can work efficiently. Saudi universities face challenges maintaining their status and excellence, both locally and internationally, through the use of innovative learning methods and the provision of training programs for students, Aledwani said.

According to the former dean of the faculty of social sciences, Saudi universities’ performance in adapting graduates to the needs of the labor market is “average.”

Aledwani said that his research had revealed that one of the most significant challenges facing universities is inadequate training and qualification of students before they enter the labor market.

This includes poor coordination between universities and employers to determine the skills graduates need.

Zaid Al-Khumishi, educational supervisor at the Saudi Ministry of Education, discussed the application of artificial intelligence in human resource professional development to suit the needs of the Saudi labor market.

Al-Khumishi has worked in the education industry for almost two decades, recruiting specialists in electronic technology to build training programs employing artificial intelligence.

He suggested designing artificial intelligence-based training programs that meet the needs of the Saudi labor market and workers “by conducting a comprehensive survey of those needs and setting priorities for them to build training programs that meet those needs.”


Luna Reef brings unique cuisines from around the world to Jeddah’s dining table

Luna Reef brings unique cuisines from around the world to Jeddah’s dining table
Updated 6 sec ago

Luna Reef brings unique cuisines from around the world to Jeddah’s dining table

Luna Reef brings unique cuisines from around the world to Jeddah’s dining table

JEDDAH: Luna Reef Restaurants, located inside the Jeddah Yacht Club, has brought together five restaurants, each boasting authenticity and class and offering the best view of the sea in town: Italian restaurants Madeo and Le Vesuvio, French fine-dining restaurant Le Comptoir De Nicole, Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers, and pizza place Emmy Squared Pizza.

The chefs from each restaurant are working hard to move their locales to a more permanent spot so they can be a part of the already growing collection of superb restaurants in the Kingdom.

Daniel Lewis, the executive branch chef for Emmy Squared Pizza, said that they are always open to trying new things. The pizza parlor recently came up with the “Loaded Ronni” pizza, given the Saudi predilection for pepperoni pizza.

The pizzeria is a must-try for those who enjoy comfort food. The pizzas are baked in a square tin tray that is coated with brown butter. The spongy dough pairs sublimely with the mozzarella cheese, baked to golden perfection.

FASTFACT

French restaurant Le Comptoir De Nicole gets its name from old French; the word “comptoir” today is used to describe a casual, relaxed dining setting.

“In America, they call this kind of pizza a pie, and if you speak to an Italian chef, they are going to tell you it is not a pizza. However, the quality of the ingredients that we use is what matters the most. We get ourselves the best ingredients that we can globally, so that is what sets us apart from the run-of-the-mill pizza,” Lewis said.

Some of the ingredients used in the pizza are shipped here from Italy to ensure they are the best in the market. The chef said that they were still working to put a Saudi twist on things.

“I have some Middle Eastern experience, but this year I am going to dive much deeper into the culture and try to adapt some of our recipes and offerings to the people here. While doing that, we still want to maintain the award-winning standard that we have set.”

When asked about his favorite aspect of the restaurant, he said it is a perfect setting for groups: “It is all about sharing. It is very relaxed.”

Madeo, for its part, does not just represent Italian food but the legacy of an Italian family. It is owned and run by Alfio Vietina and his wife Elvira Buffoni. For over 35 years, they have been creating recipes and plan to hand them down to the coming generations.

For Madeo, the main idea is not to put a twist on Italian food but to remain consistent and deliver the same food in Jeddah as is served in their branch in Los Angeles.

FASTFACT

The square pizza trend caught on with mechanics in Detroit, as they would keep screws and other smaller components in similar tin boxes; later, they would take them home and bake pizzas in them.

“We must follow the recipe, and every day we try and make the best version of it. We are very excited to give our guests an Italian fine-dining experience,” said Davide Figliolini, executive chef of Madeo.

The restaurant has kept its food simple yet delicious, so it appeals to all palates.

Customers of French eatery Le Comptoir De Nicole, meanwhile, say it is the “perfect place to fall in love” with its beautiful view of the nightly fireworks. It presents the signature dishes of Nicole Rubi, who has managed to capture the spirit of Nice, located on the French Riviera, in her culinary creations. Their burrata fraiche and Wagyu beef tagliata are among the restaurant’s best sellers.

Head Chef Joginder Dham said: “The coast of Jeddah is the perfect setting for the bright and cheerful Comptoir de Nicole. I am happy to bring Mediterranean classics to the Red Sea.”


Saudi education commission signs up to Seoul Accord

The headquarters of the Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC). (Supplied)
The headquarters of the Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC). (Supplied)
Updated 1 min 1 sec ago

Saudi education commission signs up to Seoul Accord

The headquarters of the Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC). (Supplied)
  • The commission has been awarded full recognition status by the World Federation for Medical Education until 2032

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Education and Training Evaluation Commission, represented by the National Center for Academic Accreditation and Evaluation, is the first in the Middle East to become a provisional signatory to the Seoul Accord for computing programs and information technology.

The Seoul Accord is an international accreditation agreement for professional computing and information technology academic degrees between the bodies responsible for accreditation in its signatory countries.

Membership aims to enhance learning capabilities and graduate mobility between member states, as well as provide job opportunities for graduates of national academic institutions accredited by national centers in computer and information technology across the world.

It will also improve and develop relations with quality assurance agencies and networks globally, as well as localize international best practices in accreditation. This will enhance the commission’s position as a reference in accrediting computer and information technology programs in higher education locally and globally.

Mohammed Bashammakh, executive director of the National Center for Academic Accreditation and Evaluation, said that membership will aid the authority in a number of ways, including the mutual recognition of computer and information technology certificates in recognized programs through quality assurance networks.

He added that this will also help the commission exchange knowledge at international forums on the best practices in computer and information technology specialties.

The commission has also been awarded full recognition status by the World Federation for Medical Education until 2032.


Supreme Court calls on all Muslims in Saudi Arabia to sight the Dhu Al-Hijjah crescent moon

Supreme Court calls on all Muslims in Saudi Arabia to sight the Dhu Al-Hijjah crescent moon
Updated 17 min 33 sec ago

Supreme Court calls on all Muslims in Saudi Arabia to sight the Dhu Al-Hijjah crescent moon

Supreme Court calls on all Muslims in Saudi Arabia to sight the Dhu Al-Hijjah crescent moon
  • Supreme Court has requested that anyone who sights the moon register their testimony to the nearest court

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to sight the Dhu Al-Hijjah crescent moon on Wednesday evening, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The sighting of the moon marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Dhu Al-Hijjah, during which the Hajj pilgrimage is performed, and is followed by Eid Al-Adha.

The Supreme Court asked that anyone who sights the moon, whether with their own eyes or through a telescope, report to the nearest court and register their testimony.

Moreover, whoever does sight the moon will join a moon sighting committee in Saudi Arabia, according to SPA.

Hajj, one of Islam's five pillars, is the pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia that every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they are able.


Jazan governor attends signing ceremony for improved services for Saudi Autism Society

 Jazan governor attends signing ceremony for improved services for Saudi Autism Society
Updated 28 June 2022

Jazan governor attends signing ceremony for improved services for Saudi Autism Society

 Jazan governor attends signing ceremony for improved services for Saudi Autism Society
  • The agreement aims to provide the best services for the autistic community in Jazan across health, education and training fields

JAZAN: Prince Muhammad bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Jazan, along with Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor, attended a ceremony for the signing of an agreement between the Saudi Autism Society, Jazan University, the Ministry of Development and Human Resources of Jazan and the General Administration of Education and Health of Jazan on Tuesday.

Dr. Issa bin Yahya Al-Banawi, the Deputy for Developmental Affairs, also attended the ceremony, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The prince gave a speech in which he explained the agreement's aim of providing the best services for the autistic community in Jazan across various health, educational, rehabilitation, and training fields.

The prince emphasized the significance of these services in conducting research, as well as providing supervisory advice, an exchange of experiences, and rehabilitation areas for people on the autism spectrum.

He also emphasized the importance of long-term collaboration among the various parties in achieving these goals.


Saudi King Salman orders state sectors to serve pilgrims during Hajj to the best of their ability

Saudi King Salman orders state sectors to serve pilgrims during Hajj to the best of their ability
Updated 28 June 2022

Saudi King Salman orders state sectors to serve pilgrims during Hajj to the best of their ability

Saudi King Salman orders state sectors to serve pilgrims during Hajj to the best of their ability

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman ordered state sectors to serve the pilgrims during Hajj to the best of their ability during a cabinet meeting he chaired at Al-Salam Royal Palace on Tuesday, Saudi news agency (SPA) reported.

“Serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims has been at the forefront of the Kingdom’s priority since its establishment and still is. We are proud to continue this mission with the highest competency,” King Salman said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia earlier said it permitted over one million pilgrims from overseas to perform Hajj this year for the first time in two years of COVID-19 restrictions, which limited the pilgrimage to residents of the Kingdom.

King Salman urged sectors to work according to the organizational and operational plans set in place for this year's pilgrimage to ensure a safe and spiritual Hajj experience.

As of Sunday, a total of 282,523 pilgrims from all over the world arrived in Madinah for Hajj, authorities earlier reported.

During the meeting, the cabinet was also briefed on the results of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent regional tour to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.