2004 News Story

Labor Ministry embarks on employment program for Saudis

The Ministry of Labor has embarked on a major program to find jobs for all unemployed Saudis, whether qualified or unqualified. In an article published in yesterday’s Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat, Minister of Labor Dr Ghazi Al-Qusaibi underlined the government's strategic plan to train Saudis, particularly for jobs in the oil and gas industries. His ministry, he said, is coordinating with other government agencies, including the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. He also spoke of measures to create job opportunities for Saudi women, saying women's sections are being opened up in all government departments, and citing the Cabinet’s directives regarding the provision of training for women by the Manpower Development Fund.

The program has been worked out in coordination with the Manpower Development Fund as well as the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) and the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVOT). To execute it, some 46 committees have been set up nationwide with a total of 1,357 members. GOTEVOT Governor Dr. Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafees reports that his organization will, over the next five years, spend SR 8.7 billion [U.S. $ 2.3 billion] to train 100,000 young Saudis. Under the new program, all unemployed Saudis will be first classified into the two categories, qualified and unqualified. The former will be provided with training and refresher courses, while the latter will be sent to either community service or military programs, or enrolled in training programs, either government or private.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Credit Bank, which is to receive SR3 billion [$0.8 billion] from this year's budget surplus, will provide soft loans to graduates of technical and vocational training colleges to enable them to establish small-scale business projects. Moreover, the 1,500 graduates holding Saudi University English language diplomas are being found jobs as translators at customs clearance offices; while any of them who wish to qualify as English teachers in primary schools will be required to take further training in accordance with the specifications set by the Education Ministry.