The National Youth Program for Skills Development Launched with the Blessing of his Majesty

May 29, 2018

The National Youth Program for Skills Development Launched with the Blessing of his Majesty

With the blessing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, HE Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court, launched today the “National Youth Program for Skills Development”, focused on the trends of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Applications for admission open in May and the first training course starts in August of this year.      

During a meeting today at noon with the National Youth Program for Skills Development Advisory  Committee, comprising a group of Omani youth, His Excellency stressed in a statement that the National Youth Program for Skills Development reflects the high care and attention His Majesty attaches to the youth who are at the center of national priorities. This program is a continuation of the national programs sponsored by the Diwan of Royal Court to cover vital sectors such as the government sector, the private sector and the youth sector. The National Youth Program for Skills Development targets 3000 young Omanis from across the Sultanate’s Governorates, aged between 15 and 29 years. It will be implemented over two years in order to help Omani youth develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge associated with the 4th Industrial revolution, as well as learn advanced technologies, through two schemes, each targeting a specific age group.   

Dr. Ali Qassim Al-Lawati, Advisor for Studies and Research to the Diwan of Royal Court, stressed the complementarity between the schemes of the national programs sponsored by the Diwan of Royal Court. He further explained that the National Youth Program for Skills Development comes at an ideal time as the world is changing at an accelerated pace driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, adding that the program offers a rich learning experience and helps the young participants explore the 4IR and its applications at a global level.          

The National Youth Program for Skills Development includes two schemes, the first being Al Nashia Scheme, in which participants aged 15 to 17 years will be trained in programming, robotics, computational thinking, digital media and digital citizenship, in order for their creative skills to be unlocked and used in their daily lives. They will also acquire an awareness of the challenges early on as well as the opportunities raised by modern technologies. This Scheme will be implemented in collaboration with specialized international institutions such as Danish Lego Education, Firetech UK and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), in addition to several training companies.

The second is Al Shabab Scheme, aimed at training youth aged 18 to 29 years on the attitudes, skills and knowledge associated with 4IR, to create a real knowledge-based community in the Sultanate, with the ability to achieve a developmental leap in various fields of work. This Scheme will include an initial foundation stage based on training delivered through an advanced virtual learning platform used for the first time in the Sultanate. Successful participants will achieve a Nanodegree, which is a new type of global certification designed specifically for 4IR skills development. This stage focuses on three Nanodegree courses: data foundations, introduction to programming and digital marketing. It will also be supported by weekly (virtual and personal) sessions across the Sultanate’s Governorates. This stage aims at equipping the youth with the e-learning culture which is one of the essential elements in the future of education in the world. This will be the foundation stage for the transition to the intensive second-stage program.   

This initial stage is followed by 6 weeks of intensive training modules given locally and overseas for participants who successfully complete stage one based on a transparent cumulative assessment. This training will focus on the applications and knowledge of the 4th Industrial Revolution, as well as on citizenship in the era of digital economy. It will be delivered in partnership with Nanyang Technology University (Singapore) and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL (Switzerland), alongside UDACITY’s global platform and other national and international institutions. Participants will develop their critical thinking, problem-solving skills, creativity, negotiation skills and cognitive flexibility, all of which are included in the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs report as necessary skills for success and continuity in the jobs of the future.

Following the participants’ selection and evaluation process, all applicants of the National Youth Program for Skills Development will be subject to a rigorous and impartial selection process in accordance with clear competitive criteria, to be conducted by an independent institution with expertise in the field of competency development and human resources development. 

On this occasion, His Excellency the Minister of the Diwan, Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud al-Busaidi, addressed a message urging young Omanis to take full advantage of this exciting opportunity, which will open the door towards a prosperous future - a future only available for those hardworking and determined lifelong learners, which are not uncommon traits among the people of Oman. Omani youth should realize that their country holds them in high regard and is counting on them to carry on developing Oman, and they have the right to avail themselves of what is provided, as hard work always leads to success.