Apr 24 2008
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Labour Fund bid to check skills gaps
The Kingdom's Labour Fund yesterday launched the most indepth and comprehensive study ever of the Bahrain labour market to identify skills gaps and requirements in various sectors and develop a 5 to 10 year forecast and strategic skills plan to address the identified gaps and requirements.
The study will focus on skills groups and individual occupations across 10 economic sectors - construction, business services, Information and Communication Technology, telecommunications, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, trade, health, education and the public sector - and identify the skill sets required besides opening up new vistas for the Bahrain labour market.
Australia's Allen Consulting Group, which has been roped in for the study, will work with some Australian affiliates and a Bahraini group and complete it in approximately a year's time. Labour Fund's Acting Chief Executive Abdulellah Al Qassimi and the Director of Allen Consulting Group, Prof. Stephen Bartos signed the agreement yesterday.
"The Kingdom is currently re-shaping its future with three key reform movements - economic, labour market and educational system. The study will help us get a detailed analysis of existing and emerging skills gaps, shortages, requirements and trends to assist in realigning our educational and training systems to more effectively respond to labour market needs and demands," said Al Qassimi.
"By analysing the gaps between the current skills levels of the Bahrain labour force and the future and emerging skills requirements, the findings will assist us achieve the strategy of capitalising on and developing value-added Bahraini talent and skills. In the long term, this will have a dramatic impact on the employment market because Bahrainis will be equipped with more relevant and demand-driven skills to meet market needs."
The Vice-President for Enterprise and Human Capital Development, Labour Fund, Dr. Ahmed Abdul Ghani Al Shaikh exuded confidence that the study would enable them to arrive at future investment decisions, initiatives and actions on 'a more valid and reliable data and information base'.
"In Bahrain, as in the rest of the GCC, we urgently need to build a workplace skills inventory that will enable us to work towards unified skills and occupational standards. This will then help educational and training delivery systems to upgrade their teaching and above all, make Bahrainis more mobile since their qualifications will meet region-wide standards."
"The benefits of the study will be shared by employers, employees, students and job seekers who will be able to make more informed decisions about their own future and about the growth and development of their corporations and industry sectors. In addition, universities and schools will utilise the findings extensively for career guidance, awareness and development. Training providers will also gear their provisions towards satisfying market demand. Labour market policy makers will also benefit considerably."
Prof. Bartos said the study will facilitate an environmental scan to determine how the Bahrain labour market was performing compared to other GCC countries besides analysing global trends in labour markets, skills and economies and giving an overview of global thinking on emerging issues and challenges. "We are aware of the key challenges that the Bahrain Labour Fund is trying to address through its Strategic Plan 2007-2010, such as stagnating wages, standards of living, low skills development, expansion of the lower class, business performance, and ways of implementing enforcement and standardisation."
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