By RODOLFO C. ESTIMO JR.
Riyadh : Saudi students will be offered an opportunity to gain work experience after completing their graduation in Irish universities, the country’s ambassador has said.
Ireland has agreed to a request from the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce (CSCC) to train Saudi students for one year after graduation from Irish universities, Ambassador Tony Cotter told Arab News. “The request was made by the CSCC when Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny visited the Kingdom last year.”
The CSCC request involves the establishment of a program whereby Saudi nationals who successfully graduate from an Irish university or college would be offered a period of work placement with Irish companies or organizations.
Cotter said that the aim is to enable the graduates gain valuable work experience so that they can return to Saudi Arabia and become productive members of the workforce.
Hasan Kansara, a board member of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), had earlier said that many recruited Saudis appear to be unable to cope with work pressure. He said that Saudis could be prevented from quitting their jobs if they are trained to understand their work functions and how to handle pressure.
According to statistics, 84.2 percent of Saudis with a bachelor’s degree are unemployed.
The Irish envoy said that “initial discussions on the request had taken place between Irish representatives and Saudi counterparts by way of a conference call.”
A meeting in the Saudi capital was also set to map out the requirements and produce a plan of action to achieve the stated aims.
“The aim is to help Saudi students get work experience before returning home to take up employment. It should be clear that the nature of the experience is temporary and that the goal is to support eventual employment,” he said.
Cotter said that Saudi employers want “workplace ready” employees who will require minimal on the job training to become productive. “Saudi employers distinguish between internships and actual work experience, so student work experience is not really a substitute for what is proposed.”
It is also hoped that the links developed with Irish employers who have interest in Saudi business will be beneficial, he said, adding that a key factor would be the availability of Irish work visas for the graduates. “It is envisaged that the Ministry of Commerce may contribute a stipend for the graduate while on work experience,” he said. “Every year, there will be about 200 graduates and it is hoped that the business plan will set out a roadmap to gradually build the number over the period of the plan.”
The target is to provide work experience places for up to 50 Saudi graduates in the first year of operation of the scheme, he said.
Cotter said that the name for the scheme will be Gulf-bridge, which will provide work experience placements for interns for a six-to12 month period.
Article Source : Arab News