Vocational training key to building Arab economies
Amman, September 4, 2013
Vocational education is critical to building advanced economies in the Arab world, and needs to become a priority for regional governments looking to create high performance workforces, said a senior official.
Vocational education has been traditionally overlooked by Arab students and their parents, said Ramiz Haddadin, Pearson's senior business manager in the Middle East at a conference.
Global experts in education and training met to discuss the readiness of the region’s labour force for the future of work in the Arab world at the seventh Arab Human Resources Management and Training Conference held in Amman recently.
The participants at the seventh Arab Human Resources Management and Training Conference debated how to create a future, regional workforce that will meet the demands of 21st century employers and add value to the region’s economies.
“Vocational training has often been seen as a lesser alternative to an academic education. Many people believe that vocational courses will lead to jobs that have lower wages and poorer conditions than their academic counterparts,” said Haddadin.
“Traditionally, a vocational qualification will not be considered as prestigious as a qualification from a university. However, this is actually no longer the case, as vocational qualifications are now recognised by international employers and learning institutions, and can lead to increasingly well paid positions with excellent prospects for career advancement,” he added.
Employers in the Arab world have also called for more vocationally trained graduates, as the region faces a skills crisis in many industries, including the engineering, construction and hospitality sectors of the economy, said a statement.
However, while regional employers call for more skilled workers, rates of youth unemployment is high as 30 per cent in the region and workplace participation in the region are some of the worst in the world, it said.
Young Arabs are not choosing education pathways that give them the skills or knowledge demanded by employers in the sectors most in need of skilled labour, which can be partly attributed to many Arab students’ pursuing education pathways that lead to careers in the public service that offer generous remuneration packages.
“Vocational programmes should be internationally recognised and accredited against global quality standards. The programmes should also be developed in close consultation with industry so that course content is an accurate reflection of the types of skills and knowledge demanded by employers,” said Haddadin.
“The burgeoning youth population of the Arab World is a great economic opportunity for the region. By providing our youth with a learning path that will lead to a rewarding and secure career we are not only helping individuals, we are helping guarantee the long-term economic and social prosperity of the wider region”. - TradeArabia News Service