Human Resources/Standards Bahrain to Implement Occupational Standards for Several Industries
Bahrain gets down to business: The Gulf-country aims to push its transformation towards a knowledge based economy by establishing a a series of National Occupational Standards (NOS). This is only the latest steps in a series of attempts to assess and improve the performance and skills of the country’s current and future workforce - already the most highly skilled workforce is the region.
Manama/Bahrain – Plans for the new NOS were revealed by the Bahrain Ministry of Labour during a signing ceremony with the German 'Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit' (GIZ), which had previously cooperated with the Ministry on the new standards. This programme is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken to further diversify the economy and invest in vocational training and skills development to improve the employability of Bahrainis across all sectors and occupations.
Ongoing Transition towards Knowledge–Based Economy
Bahrain, with its limited crude reserves, is pushing the economic transition towards a knowledge based industrial and services economy. Kamal bin Ahmed, the country's Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), explained: “The implementation of the National Occupational Standards demonstrates Bahrain’s commitment to providing employees and employers with the necessary skills to increase business productivity in the Kingdom. As foreign investment continues to flow into the Kingdom, the standards will enhance the attractiveness of Bahrainis as employees of choice for investors.”
‘The National Occupational Standards are a valuable resource that will be used to ensure that qualifications meet the needs and demands of employers in Bahrain. The standards identify the learning and skills required in specific sectors and occupations and offer a wide range of benefits for workers and businesses alike,” added Jameel bin Mohammed Humaidan, Minister of Labour. The next stage of the project will see the training of the NOS team in Bahrain in the standards and regulations of 125 occupations across six sectors, including financial services – which accounts for 25% of GDP – and ICT. The final implementation of the NOS is expected by 2015.
Training, Education and Assurance to Boost NOS Programme
The organizers are confident that the programme is about to bear some fruits: “Our experience has shown that countries with NOS benefit from a more focused and motivated workforce as individuals learn and develop new skills. In turn, employers tend to see an increase in productivity as NOS set important benchmarks, support staff development and training and identify potential skills gaps,” stated Peter- Michael Schmidt, Executive Director of GIZ International Service.
Recent government programmes to further improve education and training include teacher training programmes, a polytechnic college, improvement of upper-secondary vocational programmes and a quality assurance initiative to raise the accreditation standards.