As part of an integrated approach to expand its educational activities, Oman Educational Services (OES) has ventured with the German BFW, Berufsförderungswerk Kerpen (BFW NRW) to introduce an Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman.
OES is the owner company of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), the Finland-Oman School (FOS), the History of Science Centre (HSC), the Training and Smart Solutions Centre (TSSC), among others.
The Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman will builds on certain aspects of the German Vocational Technical Training and will cater for young Omanis who would choose to follow a technical vocational path.
This project was presented during a workshop organised by OES on Tuesday 22 May at Grand Hyatt Muscat, in the presence of the German Ambassador to Oman, H.E. Mr. Thomas Schneider and representatives from governmental and private organizations. During the workshop, invited stakeholders discussed the opportunities and the challenges relating to the implementation of the Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman.
H.E. Mr. Thomas Schneider, German Ambassador to Oman, pointed in his speech that “the Apprenticeship Technical Trainings are widely embedded in the German education system and labour market, where the training institutes and the private sector collaborate on providing vocational training solutions to school leavers and on-the-job employees to upgrade their skills”.
The first edition of the Apprenticeship Technical Training will be launched in August, with a focus on IT skills. It is targeted at young Omani school leavers, University and College drop outs, aspiring to build up a technical career in IT required for the development of various sectors.
Dr. Julio Saavedra, the Keynote Speaker from TTU noted that the focus on IT trainings is a pre-requisite for Oman to catch up with the 4th Industrial Revolution. He explained that “4IR is based on a confluence of technologies maturing at the same time”. Technologies are becoming entrenched in our society, through robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things, etc. Julio Saavedra concluded that “4IR requires a spectrum of technical IT skills which can only be developed through hands-on practical training in an operational environment”.
The Apprenticeship Technical Training in IT, as devised in the German context, offers apprentices a combination of structured classroom training with job familiarization allowing them to practice the technical and soft skills in a real life setting. Mr. Björn Müller, Manager in BFW NRW advanced: “this approach can be replicated in the context of Oman too, with the help of the private sector”.
The Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman by OES-BFW is envisaged to be structured over 3 years. The training will offer apprentices classroom learning alternated with weekly scheduled time in host companies. Thus, preparing apprentices to become autonomous IT technicians by the end of the training.
The success of the project will rely on the commitment of the private sector and the host companies that would choose to tie up with an apprentice during the duration of the training. Apprentices should be selected by host companies based on their future recruitment needs and plans to contribute in Omaninzation and ICV development.
“The success of such initiative requires a long-term relationship between the apprentices and enterprises” highlighted Heiderose Moose, Manager of Vocational Training in TSSC.
During the workshop, a series of challenges were discussed by the invitees. “There is a stigma attached to vocational study, people think of it as the alternative option if you don’t get the right marks to get into university” and “I don’t think young Omani are fully clear on what vocational training entails as the majority expect to work in offices.” Another voice postulated “the education system in Oman has to bridge the divide between academic and vocational study”.
OES and BFW NRW are all set to launch the project which should translate into more versatile IT technicians/specialists with a more all-round set of skills.