Saudi training and internship programs need a boost

Saudi training and internship programs need a boost

Samar Fatany

By Samar Fatany

 
Increasing employment opportunities for Saudi youth continues to be one of the main challenges facing Saudi Arabia today. Economists urge the need for a more efficient strategy to address the high rate of unemployment. 1.9 million Saudis will enter the workforce over the next decade according to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

Everyone agrees that more needs to be done to upgrade the educational system and increase career options to absorb the young and growing working-age populations into the workforce.

At present it remains critical to address the challenges facing post-graduate education. The Ministry of Education is continuously urged by experts to upgrade the school curricula and create technical workshops to produce graduates suitable for the industrial labor market.

Unfortunately, internship programs are not as effective and Saudi graduates lack the basic qualifications such as fluency in English, analytical and problem-solving skills, good command of MS Office and communication skills, both oral and written, required for any internship program in any reputable institution or company. Thus, industrial companies remain reluctant to recruit young graduates due to their poor qualifications and ill preparedness to work in the industrial sector.

Meanwhile, local companies do not provide adequate on-the-job training for young inexperienced employees and are not willing to invest in providing highly qualified trainees. Not many Saudi companies provide adequate internship programs for the inexperienced graduates seeking employment. Ask any of the young interns who completed their internship in local companies and they will all tell you that they did not learn much and their benefit was minimal.

Most graduates complain that companies do not provide proper mentoring, training is inadequate and they feel marginalized with zero guidance leaving them lost and struggling to prove their competence at work. Adopting best practices from reputable international companies can be of great benefit for the newly employed graduates who are eager to learn, contribute and excel.

Today most renowned academic institutions have centers for career education (CCE) that offer unique opportunities to provide young graduates with the required work experience and the opportunity to explore and learn. Many universities abroad offer numerous internship programs where students can learn about professional fields and experience typical workdays. Internship programs are taken seriously and students are provided with the necessary skills to pursue their future careers.

Most global companies apply international training standards to provide serious and professional internship training to enhance capabilities and provide the necessary expertise to build productive employees. Reputable companies offer ground internship training on projects, which include the collaboration of expert motivators and thinkers around the world who work together to solve challenges. They provide training and mentoring that can boost the career of a young graduate with adequate skills to qualify them for a job anywhere in the world.

Coaching, mentoring, job rotation and job instructional techniques are some of the necessary training requirements Coaching is a one-to-one training method that provides a more effective instruction for each trainee to develop according to their pace and individual capability. Instructional techniques that provide step-by-step instruction can also ensure that the trainer is assured that the learner has mastered the necessary skills required to make him a productive employee.

The mentoring process focuses on the development of attitude and work ethics, providing young employees with a solid foundation of professionalism and communication skills. Other methods include rotating them through a series of related jobs to make them more familiar with the work environment and able to perform different tasks in different sectors.

Young employees can be more efficient and hardworking once they are provided with the proper technical guidance, thorough instructions and a specialized on the job training. The process of training young inexperienced employees should be taken more seriously by the Saudi labor market.
The future development of Saudi Arabia into a diversified, knowledge-based economy will depend on a strong private sector and its ability to attract and train young graduates and offer them the incentives to contribute to nation building. Only if we apply effective policies, efficient strategies, and constructive plans that are based upon scientific methodologies can we make Vision 2030 more achievable.
Samar Fatany is a radio broadcaster and writer. She can be reached at samarfatany@hotmail.com