GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

 
AUTHOR NAME
 
Family Name:
Al Rawahi
 
First Name:
Maimoona
 
ABSTRACT OF PAPER
 
Title of Paper:
Challenges facing Trainees and Graduates in term of the Graduates’ Employability: the Case of the Government Vocational Training Centres in the Sultanate of Oman
 
Paper Proposal Text :
Workshop Number: (5) Gulf Youth Employment - A Ticking Time Bomb: Private and Public Sector Initiatives versus GCC Realities.
Title of Paper: Challenges facing Trainees and Graduates in term of the Graduates’ Employability: the Case of the Government Vocational Training Centres in the Sultanate of Oman.
Authors, Institution and E-mail Address:
 Maimoona Abdullah Al Rawahi, PhD student
University of Salford, Greater Manchester
School of Built Environment
Maxwell Building, 4th Floor
M5 4WT
UK……… (+44) 7417471131
Email: M.A.S.AlRawahi2@edu.salford.ac.uk
mayrh@hotmail.com
 Prof. Ghassan Aouad
Previously : Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research &Innovation & Dean of College of Science and Technology & Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), The University of Salford, Salford, M5 4WT, UK
Currently : The President of the University of Wollongong in Dubai
Email: g.aouad@salford.ac.uk
 Prof. Vian Ahmed
Acting Associate Head of R&I
Director of MERIT (the on-line PhD programme)
Director of Postgraduate Research Studies
School of the Built Environment
University of Salford, Greater Manchester
M5 4WT
Email: V. Ahmed@salford.ac.uk

Abstract
Problem Statement: The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector is considered to be at the heart of domestic and worldwide economies. It plays a major role in the provision of people, employability, and the workforce to supply the labour market worldwide (Al Gamdi, 1994; Al Lamki, 2008; Ghanem, 1989). Oman is one of the developing countries that has placed emphasis on VET based upon several historical, social, economic and political considerations (Ministry of Manpower, 2010a). Since 1970 Oman moved towards a new policy in developing the country, it realised the significance of VET in order to deliver semi skilled and skilled manpower to meet the shortage in its workforce and meet its national development plans. With the accession of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said in 1970, came a promise to improve the nation\'s human resources, and since that time VET has become a high priority on the Omani national agenda (Ministry of Manpower, 2009b; Shura Council, 2009). Despite this government support, figures show that of the 2,000 graduates from the Government Vocational Training Centres (GVTCs) in 2008-2009 only 25% graduates were employed in the government and private sectors in Oman (Ministry of Manpower, 2010c: 4). Some also had to be retrained because they did not have the appropriate skills to work (Ministry of Manpower, 2010e). Additionally, there are some concerns expressed in reports from the Ministry of Manpower (2010d), as well as from some seminars and working papers, identifying a serious problem in GVTCs, namely the apparent negative perception by employers in private companies towards the employment of VET trainees (Vocational Training Centre in Sur, 2009; Shura Council, 2009; Service Development and Performance Appraisal, 2009; General Directorate of Vocational Training, 2004; Gabriel Foundation Training and Consulting, 2003; Kierwood, 1994). There are some indications that a negative attitude towards manual work may also exist, further adding to a general reluctance to join GVTCs and a scarcity of Omanis in the industrial labour force (Ministry of Manpower, 2010b). Another issue is that the private sector usually pays lower wages for the graduates from GVTCs than the government sector (Al Hamadi et al., 2007; General Organization for Social Insurance, 2004). These companies argue that those graduates are under-skilled and hence, they are reluctant to employ them (Ministry of Manpower, 2010o; Al Lamki, 1998; Al Balushi, 1999).

Objectives and Scope of Study: This paper conducts a literature review in the area of VET and graduates’ employability in the world. As well as, it examines the current situation of VET programs in the GVTCs. This paper also explores the possible reasons that mainly influenced trainees’ decisions to enrol with GVTCs. The paper also identifies the perceptions of trainees and graduates, about the employability skills. This is followed by a critical analysing to the challenges that face the trainees and graduates in terms of gaining employment in labour market. Finally, this paper proposes several procedures in terms of attracting trainees and graduates towards vocational work.
Methods: In order to achieve the aim and objectives, this existing study uses several methods such as focus groups, literature review and documents.

Results and Observations: The findings in this paper indicated several initial findings. Firstly, there are many potential reasons from the perspective of groups of trainees and graduates that mainly influenced trainees’ decisions to join GVTCs in Oman; such as: personal desire; family desire; peer pressure; scholarship from work; job seeker; to establish a private project and not being accepted in the preferred major. Secondly, from the perceptions of trainees and graduates, there are numerous types of employability skills that are important for GVTCs’ trainees and graduates, for example, key or core skills; intellectual skills; career management skills; self-sufficiency skills; personal attributes; team-working and relationship building skills; self and time management skills; problem-solving skills; leadership skills; presentation skills; academic knowledge; awareness of national and international issues; and awareness of religious beliefs and values. Thirdly, the findings from the viewpoints of the two groups reveal that they face several challenges, for instance: VET programs do not fulfil the needs of the job market; there is no specialized committee for graduate employment; some private companies have limited abilities to provide training opportunities for trainees; a vocational certificate is not classified at a financial degree; low salaries and wages in the private sector for those who graduate from GVTCs; lack of financial rewards ; some graduates lack important and necessary skills; the lack of family encouragement for those graduates; and the existence of foreign workers who compete with Omani workers. Fourthly, there are several procedures which could be adopted to address some of the challenges such as introducing the private sector in order to recognise the professional requirements and qualifications; establishing partnerships between the Ministry of Manpower, centres in the Departments of Counseling, Directorates of Employment and Directorate of Curriculum Development in the Ministry; introducing lawyers to clarify Omani Labour Law, the different fields of jobs in the labour market, and the hours credited for each job; discussing the importance of changing certificates to a suitable financial level and establishing a database or information bank that provides graduates with necessary information regarding the different jobs and future requirements of the labour market.

Conclusion: This paper concluded that the empirical work shows important points, it can been summarised them as follows:

• Close relations between trainees, VET centres and private companies have obvious benefits in contributing to skilled graduates and equipment;
• Possible financial support from local industry in recognising the consequential advantages of skilling existing and future workers;
• It became clear from the results that there is a relationship between quality of VET programmes and graduates’ employability;
• Some private companies have limited abilities to provide training opportunity for trainees;
• There is no particular committee for graduates’ employment that is concerned with the graduates and follows their employment after graduation;
• The vocational certificate is not classified to a financial degree and there is no coordination to equal this certificate financially and
• The key development procedures that can be used to address these challenges in establishing partnerships between the Ministry of Manpower, centres in the Departments of Counseling, Directorates of Employment, Directorate of Curriculums development in the Ministry and private sector.

Key words: Challenges, Vocational Education and Training, Vocational Training Government Centres, the Sultanate of Oman.

References:
Al Balushi, M. (1999) The Role of Technical Education and Vocational Training Programs in the Omanisation of Technical and Vocational Occupations in the Private Sector, Unpublished MA Thesis, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside.
Al Ghamdi, A. (1994) Factors Influencing Advancement of Technical Education and Vocational Training and their Impact on Economic Development in Saudi Arabia. Unpublished PhD thesis, UK: University of Hull.

Al Hamadi, A.; Budhwar, P. & Shipton, H. (2007) Management of human resources in Oman. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, ISSN 0958-5192 print/ISSN 1466-4399 online q 2007 Taylor & Francis, http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals, DOI: 10.1080/09585190601068383.
Al Lamki, S. (2008) Omanization in the private sector: in Oman, Seminar. Unpublished, Muscat.
Al Lamki, S. (1998) Barriers to Omanization in the private sector: the perception of Omani graduates. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 9.
General Directorate of Vocational Training (2004) Project to develop vocational training centers, governmental organizations. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
General Organization for Social Insurance (2004) Report about Symposium findings and recommendations of the study of labor turnover career Omani private sector. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
Ghanem, S. (1989) Industrialization Problems in the U.A.E. with particular reference to the Shortage of Indigenous Skilled Manpower, Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Wales College of Cardiff.
Gibril Foundation for Training and Consultancy (2003) A diagnostic report and proposals to evaluate vocational training in Oman. The Ministry of Manpower. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
Kierwood, R. (1994) A prospective study on the development of vocational training in the Sultanate of Oman commissioned by the Royal Society of Arts. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
Ministry of Manpower (2010a) Vocational Training: Aims, Plans and Programmes. Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.

Ministry of Manpower (2010b) Vocational Training: Prospects and Expectations. Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.

Ministry of Manpower (2010c) Statistical Report: Vocational Training Government Centres Graduates. Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.

Ministry of Manpower (2010d) Expanding the Infrastructure of Vocational Training Government Centres. Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.

Ministry of Manpower (2010e) Vocational Training Centres. Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.

Ministry of Manpower (2010o) The Annual Report for Vocational Training Government Centres in Oman 2009- 2010. Ministry of Manpower: Oman.
Service Development and Performance Appraisal (2009) Results of the evaluation of women\'s tailoring shops. The Ministry of Manpower. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
Shura Council (2009) The Recommendations of The Advisory Council reports to the Royal Court of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said on the development of technical education and vocational training as one of the tributaries of human resources in the Sultanate. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
Vocational Training Center in Sur (2009) Annual report of the training center. The Ministry of Manpower. Sultanate of Oman: Muscat.
 
 
 

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