RIYADH — The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) launched 12 Sector Skills Councils in the Kingdom in a ceremony held in Riyadh on Tuesday in the presence of Dr. Abdullah Abuthnain, deputy minister of Human Resources and Social Development for labor.

Addressing the meeting, Abuthnain stressed the unlimited support from the wise leadership for the human resources and social development system, saying that the system aims to provide more training opportunities and develop future skills for the sons and daughters of the nation, as well as to raise their participation rate in the labor market. He noted that the launch of the 12 councils across the Kingdom in multiple sectors comes out of the ministry’s belief in the importance of the private sector’s role in training.

Abuthnain said that this is an important initiative in building a skills system integrated with the needs of sectors and the labor market. “Its advantages include increasing employment rates, raising worker productivity, and providing feedback to policy makers and education and training service providers to enable it to keep pace with the needs and changes of the labor market,” he said.

The deputy minister said that this initiative will contribute to influencing policies related to skills, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to provide their input on education and training curricula and help improve employee retention rates and raise productivity. He stressed that the role of the sector councils will be like participatory councils, in which the concerned parties from the public and private sectors and entities would contribute to education and training by defining visions, goals and programs for skills.

Abuthnain noted that these councils will also identify the skills needed by sectors in the Kingdom at present and in the future, establish frameworks for sector skills and professional standards, and make recommendations on the changes needed to develop skills through policies, education, training, accreditation, licensing and financing.

Addressing the event, Dr. Ahmed Al-Zahrani, undersecretary for skills and training at the ministry, highlighted the importance of focusing on skills as a major enabler of economic growth. “The ministry is working to cover 2,000 skills and build and develop standards for 300 sectoral professions and professional paths by the year 2025. Skills development is a strategic priority for the Kingdom and a major enabler in achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he said.

The Sector Skills Councils initiative aims to design and activate councils for the most prominent economic sectors that affect the gross domestic product (GDP) and employment in the Kingdom. These sectors are identified as wholesale and retail trade sector, the culture and entertainment sector, the construction and real estate activities sector, the health sector, the professional services sector, the logistics and transportation services sector, the security services sector, the digital sector, the financial services and insurance sector, the tourism and hospitality sector, the energy and public utilities sector, and the manufacturing sector.

The launch of the Sector Skills Councils initiative comes within the framework of the Labor Market Strategy that was adopted in line with the decision of the Council of Ministers during the year 2020. The councils’ main objective is to design and activate an interconnected network of councils for the key economic sectors that impact the gross domestic product (GDP) and employment in the Kingdom. These councils operate with a diverse and flexible approach, focusing on bridging the skill gaps by gathering and building unified information about sectors and professional skills.

They also aim to improve the productivity and performance of the workforce and create an attractive labor market for local and international talents and capabilities, and work to find a sustainable mechanism and partnership with government agencies, the private sector, educational institutions and relevant stakeholders for skills planning at sector level.

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