Mohammed AlShaya, executive chairman of AlShaya Group, discussed development of the youth and creation of new job opportunities for them in the retail sector on the concluding day of the Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) 2014 on Thursday.
He highlighted the high density of investment in this sector, which offers thousands of job opportunities for the youth.
He emphasized the need for the retail sector to receive all possible attention and care from the country by preparing the appropriate climate for its advancement and overcoming the difficulties it faces.
He was speaking during the forum’s fifth session, which was themed “Developing and sustaining foundation skills” and moderated by Ernst & Young’s Professor Stephanie Fahey.
Ibrahim Al-Moiquel, director general of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF); Fahad Abualnasr, adviser to the board of Al Aghar Group; LIM Boon Tiong, general manager of ITE Education Services; Mohammad Almbaid, regional director at the International Youth Foundation; and Dalia Schipper, director at the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, also participated in the discussion.
Al-Moiquel emphasized the need for an initiative to prepare high school students for the labor market in the private sector. He added that the initiative, which contributes to offering students’ practical skills, will not have them leave their classrooms. He anticipated that this huge initiative will increase the rate of accepting high school graduates.
Highlighting that there are 300,000 job applicants per year from graduates, 60 percent of them with irrelevant degrees in the private sector, he stated that this is an issue that casts heavy shadows on them and “puts us between the anvil and hammer.”
He stressed that the problem is increasing, considering other humanitarian certificates the private sector needs. Females face a deeper problem like issues related to training and education, the private sector, family and society.
He added that the HRDF is working with several relevant parties, the private sector and the chambers of commerce on numerous initiatives based on giving students practical skills, which the fund handles as part of its expenses so that students graduate with a diploma from the level they are studying in, at least, and they will become ready to gain the needed functional behaviors in the final stage.
Fahad Abualnasr spoke about the group that acts as a melting pot aiming to transform the Kingdom’s society into a knowledge society, and raise a new generation led by the learning and knowledge culture.
Tiong shared Singapore’s experience, which aims to stimulate the youth’s energies to contribute to the nation’s development. This can be achieved by focusing on learning, technical and vocational training, and preparing the youth for job opportunities.
He pointed out that Singapore’s curriculums are practical in nature; 70 percent of the curriculum is dedicated to vocational training, meaning that 70 percent of the students’ time is focused on practical workshops and constant and effective training. The other 30 percent focuses on technical information students need to proceed.
He added that many industrial businessmen contributed during this process, and their points of view were considered to guarantee a smooth cycle.
Almbaid said: “The challenge we face is the development to the highest standards in the training process.”
Dalia Schipper pointed out that Switzerland is working on sharing the best experiences with the world and spreading its expertise internationally.
He added that there is a very low youth unemployment rate in Switzerland (ages 15-25), and the country’s favorable features include flexibility and lack of bureaucracy or complications, in addition to having a systematic career guidance and quality system.