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Saudi Vision 2030: Focusing on Learning for Working

 

The announcement of Saudi Arabia’s full Vision 2030 reform plan in late April was watched with keen interest by many around the region. The headline announcements – details of the Saudi Aramco IPO, the launch of a new sovereign wealth fund, a green card system for expats – were certainly the key interest areas for a good deal of these observers. This is with good reason – the Saudi Aramco IPO, for example, might value the company at more than US $2 trillion, while the details of how the Kingdom plans to diversify from fossil fuels will be a potentially seismic-scale repositioning for a major regional economy.

 

At the same time, the plan also included a quieter but, in its own way, no less impressive focus on how the country will focus on making sure the workforce possesses the skills it needs to meet the demands of Saudi’s future economy.

 

Under a main heading of “Learning for working”, the Vision 2030 sets out an aim to “ensure that the outcomes of our education system are in line with market needs. We have launched the National Labor Gateway (TAQAT), and we plan to establish sector council that will precisely determine the skills and knowledge required by each socio-economic sector”.

 

The plan shows that, in tandem with pursuing worthy goals such as encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, the country will also be putting a renewed emphasis on the training & development opportunities that need to be offered to its professionals in many different sectors.

 

Making sure that academia and vocational educational meets the needs of the workplace is a major challenge for many economies around the world, and it is impressive that Saudi has made such a decisive statement of intent to identify skills needs head-on. This is particularly important in the light cast by lower oil prices and the Kingdom’s effort to reposition its economic focus away from hydrocarbons. Investing in new skills that make sure professionals are able to effectively fulfil their roles is a worthy investment that will ensure a new strategic direction, in new economic conditions, is taken with confidence.
 
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