Mark Evans has been in Oman for the last 17 years inspiring youth to explore outdoors of Oman and learn resilience, but what attracted him to Oman so many years ago was its beautiful coastline when he kayaked all the way from Oman to Yemen.
All this and the spirit for adventure led to Outward Bound Oman.
He reflects, “We have such tremendous support from the government and the private sector and we are doing everything we can to support the Vision 2040, by developing the national talent of Oman to realise their potential, to be socially active in the community and have the ability to make the vision a reality.
“We started 11 years ago with myself and three full-time staff and we now have two international level training centres one in Sharqiya Sands and one in Muscat. The third centre is under construction on top of the Jabal Al Akhdhar. And all of this is because of the generosity of late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and his support. The youth is the future of the nation to continue the renaissance.”
Today, Outward Bound Oman has 33 staff members and 92 per cent of the trainers are Omanis and 84 per cent of the whole organisation is Omanis.
This is the message he would like to convey to the youth: “This country provides tremendous opportunities for its people and late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik put great amount of emphasis on the development of the youth of Oman because if the Vision 2040 is to become a reality, these young people are going to be needed to be given the exposure to future skills, have their resilience developed to face challenges like COVID-19.
“You have the opportunity to come out of your comfort zone, to get something new on your CV and enhance your employability. The competition for young people to get jobs today is tougher than ever. About 60,000 people will be coming out of higher education every year and there are not that many jobs available. So you have got to get something on your CV that differentiates you from other people. So challenge yourself — come with Outward Bound, it does not cost a baisa and if you are lucky, you will be offered a place in one of our courses, which lasts four days in the mountains or the desert and it is a chance to get something different on your CV.”
JEWEL IN THE SAND
“When we advertise for an opening we get about 500 CVs, but almost all of them are identical. We are looking for the jewel in the sand. My message to the youth of Oman is to make the most of these opportunities that are provided to you by the government and the private sector in order to give yourself the potential to get the job and the future you want for yourself,” he pointed out.
According to him, when you challenge yourself, it makes one learn about himself or herself, in addition to the fact that by demonstrating resilience one increases employability.
“You have something in your CV that people want to talk about — it makes the difference of your CV going to the bin or making it to the shortlist and being interviewed,” he pointed out.
What makes Outward Bound Oman different is that the training takes place in the outdoors of Oman.
“No mobile phones, total focus and no doors to hide behind. You have to stand up and take all the challenges that come at you without any handrails and everything that is familiar like going to bed on a certain time, shower, checking messages — none of that is there. And you might be with another 17 unknown people. This is fantastic because this is when you grow up really quickly.
So the Jabal Centre runs around the whole year because of the temperature, while the Desert Centre runs for seven months because of the climate. The Muscat Centre is the first step and the introduction to Outward Bound and it is a great facility for corporates to develop their emerging talent,” said Evans, Managing Director, Outward Bound Oman.