Australian expertise helps enhance Saudi Arabia’s education and training standards

31 Aug 2016

Saudi Arabia’s plan to transform its labour market by reducing youth unemployment and encouraging stronger private sector employment is opening opportunities for Australian businesses.

The Saudi government enlisted Miles Morgan Australia to help implement a formal career development program to equip Saudi citizens with the skills and knowledge to make more informed career choices.

Miles Morgan Australia is a Perth-based consultancy which specialises in delivering large and small scale public policy, evaluation and research services across Australia and in international markets.

Barbara Macnish, Miles Morgan Australia CEO, said the company was initially approached through LinkedIn and following discussions invited to tender to create the program’s quality framework along with several international candidates.

‘The fact we had previously done this work in Australia, combined with our extensive experience across a range of projects, especially in education –  which includes vocational education and training, career education and development, adult learning and school to work transitions, as well as workforce planning and development – were probably factors in our selection for this major national project,’ said Macnish.

‘Our role was to create the quality framework that underpins and shapes the development of local qualifications to better equip Saudi people, especially younger people, with the knowledge and skills to make effective career choices,’ added Macnish.

Macnish said implementing an action research based approach that was uniquely tailored to the Saudi culture, which engaged with all stakeholders – students, education institutions, peak bodies and employers – played a key role in its success.

The extensive research saw Miles Morgan Australia deliver several outcomes which included the national policy - the Career Development Framework (CDF) which is the centrepiece of the quality assurance system. The CDF outlined the skills needed to allow Saudi’s to self-manage their careers, from a young age through to the end of a career, is also accompanied by professional standards requirements for careers practitioners.

‘As with all projects, there were challenges at times but it’s been incredibly rewarding as our first international project. To know we have contributed to shaping the future economic success of Saudi Arabia is pretty amazing for a small Australian company’.

‘The support we received from Austrade, Efic and Australia’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia over the two year life of this project has been outstanding and a major factor in our success,’ said Macnish.

Mark Morley, Austrade’s Riyadh-based Senior Trade Commissioner for Saudi Arabia, said it is Australia's second largest market in the Middle East and an important trading partner.

‘Services exports, especially in higher education, vocational education and consulting is one of the significantly growing areas of Australian engagement in Saudi Arabia. It is also a substantial market for food and agriculture, mining products and services and vehicle parts and accessories,’ said Morley.

‘From the outside it may seem opaque and a seemingly difficult market, but when Australians are on the ground they realise that Saudi Arabia not only has the willingness to pay, importantly, it has the ability to pay for Australian goods and services’.

‘Given the majority of business is conducted through Saudi Government officials, or through businesses linked with large families, agencies like Austrade are critical in assisting Australian business and can facilitate relationships,’ said Morley.

Miles Morgan Australia’s initial success has led to additional invitations to undertake work for the Saudi government and other entities like Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil and gas company, which is now introducing the CDF and the professional standards into its organisation.

Visit Austrade’s website to read more about business opportunities Saudi Arabia  offers or contact Austrade on 13 28 78 or email info@austrade.gov.au