As the number of job seekers in Oman is registering a steady increase, the Sultanate has paid special attention to its human resources as it is the backbone for its development. Thus, it provides them with a number of services according to their needs.
The roll-out of the National Employment Programme (NEP) is helping the Omani labour market to fill it with nationals who are qualified and skilled in their respective fields.
The programme, which stems from Oman Vision-2040, seeks to fill the gap between knowledge and skills needed by the labour market so that the unemployed get jobs depending on their availability.
Education and training have long been fundamental to the Sultanate’s long-term development plans and central to Oman Vision-2040. The government has always stressed on upgrading education that suits the labour market needs with focus on technical and vocational education.
One of the goals in Vision 2040 is developing a favourable environment to attract talents in the labour market. For this purpose, it outlines, “a national system that empowers human capabilities in the educational sector and nurtures scientific research, innovation, and creativity to build a knowledge-based economy and society”.
His Majesty His Majesty the Sultan Haitham bin Tarik approved the launch of the Programme in June with a target of finding sustainable solutions to provide jobs to nationals in both public and private sectors, in addition to keeping a track of their data till they enter the job market.
As a result, the Ministry of Labour has in recent weeks intensified the drive to create employment opportunities for nationals by training and arming them with additional skills.
Reports indicate that the number of beneficiaries of the training program associated with employment and on-the-job training in the private sector has reached 4,400 people.
In May last, His Majesty the Sultan issued a directive to offer 32,000 jobs to Omani citizens this year. As part of the decision, the authorities have to implement a plan to employ Omani citizens in various jobs, of which 12,000 will be in the civil, military and government sector, according to the actual needs of the various institutions.
More than 1,000 nationals have already joined military service in the last week of October this year. During the same period, the Ministry of Labour announced 332 jobs in the private sector.
In the beginning of September this year, the ministry signed an agreement for job-oriented training with Nama Group as part of the Omanisation initiative, and to replace 800 technical job opportunities in the electricity sector.
Agreement signed between the ministry, Oman Broadband Company and Oman Fibre Optic Company to provide training associated with direct employment or self-employment for 70 technicians.
Agreement has also been with Oman Society for Petroleum Services to train, qualify and employ a number of Omani jobseekers in the energy, minerals and other sectors according to the needs of the labour market.
There are also agreements with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Development Foundation to finance the training programme for Omani job seekers in the field of mobile phones and tablets repair.
The Miran platform is an initiative to boost online training that will provide people with training material online along with traditional education.
Among the steps taken to encourage the hiring of Omanis are raising expatriate employment fees for supervisor and specialist roles, and Omanisation of certain positions such as manager posts at petrol stations and roles at optical stores, and the launch of an education financing initiative between the MoL, the Ministry of Education, and some banks in the country.
Positions to which Omanis can be hired include drivers of vehicles that transport fuel, agricultural materials, and foodstuffs, administrative and financial roles in insurance companies, sales, accounting, management and finance jobs in commercial complexes, and auditor positions in car agencies and companies that sell automobile spare parts.
In a recent interview to Oman TV, Dr. Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba’owain, the Minister of Labour, said that NEP will focus on creating plans related to different sectors and studying the smoothness of business in terms of identifying job opportunities and the types of qualification and training required.
With regard to Omanisation, he told the national channel, “we look at the sectors in which appropriate nationalisation s can take place in accordance with the programs that are planned, studied and shared with production parties to reach the best practices' '.
The Vision 2040 stresses on improving educational outcomes that have become necessary to build Omanis’ confidence in their identity and commitment to their social values.
“This is attainable through increasing the quality of basic and higher education and developing scientific and educational curricula, so that graduates are acquainted with competitive qualifications and employability skills to enter the local and international labour market”, it envisions.
Such graduates, according to the programme, will have an adequate level of productivity and competitiveness to build a knowledge-based economy, enhance job security in the private sector and foster a participatory relation between the private and the public sectors.
In addition to this, a developed educational system also entails the development of educational institutions, faculty and staff, the application of international standards for accreditation, the use of modern teaching and learning techniques, and the dissemination thereof as national culture.
It emphasizes that a leap is required in quality and quantity in the domain of scientific research and development, through the provision of diverse and sustainable sources of funding to support applied scientific research to promote innovation in various fields.
“This will strengthen partnership between the academic and research institutions on the one hand and the private sector on the other”, the vision suggests.
Another aspect of joining forces also entails maximising national capabilities through a national system established to nurture talent, creativity and entrepreneurial potential.
Vision 2040 defines the national priorities to be achieved through parallel work streams, with the aim of promoting Oman’s position in the different fields over the next two decades. The vision equally outlined the strategic directions, goals and key policies to translate ambitions into action plans underpinned by clear milestones and timelines and progressing against a set of local and international indicators to measure and evaluate the performance in a transparent manner.