The labor market continues expanding and creating more opportunities for citizens. Looking into the future, vocational training and skills development will become increasingly important for labor market success. As global megatrends — such as the green transition, the digital revolution, the emergence of new forms of work and the impact of COVID-19 — continue reshaping the labor market, workers will need constant retraining and upskilling to succeed in a constantly changing world of work. The growing adoption of new digital technologies and increasing post-pandemic shifts toward non-standard forms of work are redefining labor markets as we know it. This radical transformation of the world of work will create new and better opportunities for workers who have the right skills for today’s market and for the jobs of the future.
Like many other countries around the world, Saudi Arabia is anticipating these changes and planning to meet these challenges with planned initiatives to invest in human capital, build resilience and prepare for the future. “As part of Vision 2030, building human capital through training and skills development is a key priority to achieve Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation objectives and prepare for the future,” says Issam Abousleiman, GCC regional director for the World Bank.
With rapidly changing consumer behaviors and the introduction of new digital technologies reshaping the economy — creating new industries while destroying others faster than ever before — constant training and retraining is now a prerequisite for continuous success in the modern workplace.
Zelal Bassabrain and Nayib Rivera
A lifelong learning and training system is crucial to adapt and quickly respond to changing demand for skills in the labor market. With rapidly changing consumer behaviors and the introduction of new digital technologies reshaping the economy — creating new industries while destroying others faster than ever before — constant training and retraining is now a prerequisite for continuous success in the modern workplace.
As the main training provider in Saudi Arabia, the Technical and Vocational Training Corp. plays a critical role toward realizing key national priorities, such as preparing citizens for high demand jobs today and in the future. “Rapid changes in the workplace will continue disrupting work, and workers need to be able to rapidly bridge skills gaps to effectively transition from one job to the other,” said a recent World Bank report prepared in partnership with the TVTC. “More frequent job transitions will become the new normal,” the report reads.
Most TVTC students join work in the private sector after completing training programs, in many cases joining the same firm that they worked in before training. Graduates who complete TVTC programs are not only seeing their salaries grow over time, but are better able to leverage job transitions toward pay increases in the private sector, the World Bank report finds. The vocational training system is becoming more modern and inclusive, as evidenced by the growing number of young women joining TVTC programs in priority fields.
“Choosing to study information technology in Riyadh Technical College for Girls opens a door to work in the Communication and Information Technology Commission. The training provided by the college to female students puts female graduates in the front rows of distinguished labor market careers in the Kingdom,” says Abrar Abdulaziz, a TVTC graduate.
The Kingdom acknowledges the need to enhance the provision of vocational training to meet targets of Vision 2030. The Human Capability Development Program — one of the Vision 2030 initiatives — aims at developing citizens’ capabilities and preparing them for the future to compete in the local as well as global labor market. The TVTC is central to a range of HCDP objectives, such as expanding vocational training to provide for labor market needs, ensuring alignment of educational outputs with labor market needs, improving the readiness of youth to enter the labor market and building a lifelong learning journey.
• Zelal Bassabrain is a media and international PR figure with demonstrated history in governmental and educational
industries. She has worked with TVTC in launching digital campaigns about various topics related to employment and women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia.
• Nayib Rivera is a social protection and jobs economist working in the Middle East and North Africa region. For the past five years, he has been working on social protection and labor markets in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other GCC countries.