Naamal - Training and Employment Scheme
Ministry of Manpower

The Problem

Oman has a very young population with closed to 1 million still in school. Every year more than 30,000 new students move from grade schools to higher educational institutions, this will continue to be the trend for many years to come. However, only 30% of Grade 12 students will move on to pursue higher education. The remaining 70% will proceed to join the workforce. This growing trend indicates that there will be a surge in the demand for jobs in the labour market currently dominated by expatriate labour force. On the occasion of 28th National Day, in November 1998, His Majesty (HM) Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman explicitly said that “it is important that citizens should be aware of their vital role in working for the success of the government’s plan for private sector employment, and for the gradual replacement by Omanis of skilled and unskilled expatriates.” In 2001, HM reiterated his vision to build the capacity of the Omanis with scientific and practical capabilities, vocational skills and technical experiences which will provide more job opportunities, particularly in the private sector.

Hence with the establishment of the Ministry of Manpower in 2001, Oman works relentlessly to create jobs for the local Omanis through various national development programmes and foreign direct investments. More so is the need to create skills and competencies amongst the Omanis so that they are able to provide the tasks and services previously provided by the expatriate workforce. However, the journey to achieve the Omanisation objective is an arduous one. With the surge of fresh graduates into the job market, there was a huge demand for job and the Ministry of Manpower had to strive to meet the demand of the job market and the job seekers. Unfortunately, with limited resources, it was difficult to match the market requirements with that of the job seekers. Fresh school leavers had to seek for jobs in the open market and on the average they took about 6-12 months to be gainfully employed.
With rapid economic activities, there is an increased in demand for Omani labour force. Unemployment remained high before the Omanisation strategy was implemented. It was difficult then to track the number of Omanis working in the private sector. There was also difficulty for private sector to find Omanis matching skills and competencies required to fill in the vacancies to achieve the Omanisation target. In addition, there was no transparency in job placement as MOMP did not have the means to trace the vacancy available and how many people being employed. There was no proper manpower strategy to provide skilled manpower to match the increasing demand for the growing industries. Without proper statistics , manpower distribution and requirement data, it was a great challenge for the Ministry to project Omanisation rate and employment status both in the government and the private sector.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
In 2002, the Ministry of Manpower (MOMP) drew clear directions to manage the increasing number of jobseekers. They are categorized into skilled jobseekers which would be slated for direct employment, under-skilled jobseekers who would require training in vocational skills (the target for the Naamal programme), semi-skilled jobseekers and jobseekers with specialized skills.

Ministry of Manpower (MOMP) Training and Employment (Naamal) programme was initiated by the Directorate General of Employment as a service to the private sector to find skilled manpower to match their business requirements. This is done in line with the Omanisation strategy in which Omanisation quota was targeted in 11 sectors namely SANAD Programme (SME), Wholesale and Consumer Products, Transportation, IT, Telecommunications, Automobile industry, Tourism and Hospitality, Construction, Utilities (electricity and water), Oil and Gas, Specialised consultancy offices. Due to the Omanisation target for the various sectors, it is imperative that companies achieve the target so that they can obtain other services from the MOMP especially manpower work permit for expatriate labour. The programme covers two type of training, On-Job-Training and skilled or semi-skilled full-time training at accredited training providers for fresh job seekers. During the course of the training, trainees are paid training allowance (two-thirds from the Ministry of Manpower and one-third from the sponsoring company). After the training, trainees are employed by the sponsoring company and they will have to complete the obligatory employment bond before they decide to quit the company. If the trainee quit before the end of the obligatory services, they will be made to compensate for the full cost of training. Through this programme, MOMP strives to match the needs of the private sector, provide the necessary training to upskill the jobseekers and provide employment for the job seekers. In so doing, the MOMP build the capacity of the Omanis to match the burgeoning industrial requirements in the Sultanate. These training include skills and competencies for the tourism & hospitality, oil & gas, IT & Administration, technical, engineering, carpentry, etc.

Since its implementation in 2003, about 31,316 jobseekers have been trained and obtained employment in more than 2000 private companies. These jobseekers have been given a good headstart in their career from the Naamal Programme. In totalilty through the MOMP initiative, more than 71,000 Omanis gained employment in the private sector in 2009 which accounts for 64% of the total number of jobseekers in the manpower database.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The initiative was proposed by the Employment Department in the Ministry of Manpower in collaboration with the IT Department. The stakeholders involved in this programme comprised the Ministry of Manpower, jobseekers, private companies and Private Training Institutions. This symbiotic relationship between the MOMP, jobseekers, private companies and the training institutions ensures that the Government Policy of providing employment for the Omanis in the growing local economy is not only met but also sustainable in the long run. This would assist foreign direct investors in the various mega projects such as the 2 international airports, the new industrial town in Duqm, etc to acquire the necessary skilled local resources to achieve the economic objectives.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
With the need to increase the Omanisation target in the private sector, MOMP through the Omanisation Committee in 2003 established the Naamal programme as one of the solutions through a 3 pillar approach involving the Government (MOMP), Jobseekers (fresh school leavers) and Industries (private sector companies). The Government collaborated with the private sector and agreed on 13 economical sectors in the country. Sub committees were formed to agreed on the Omanisation target and they set a 10 year plan from 2003 – 2013. MOMP then developed an IT-based system to monitor the implementation and the progress of the initiatives which is linked to the national Manpower System.
Through the Naamal programme, MOMP can identify the accuracy of the information and the data flow from one department to other stage in a cycle till the jobseeker get employed and registered in Public Authority for Social Insurance PASI . Once the jobseekers registered in National Manpower System. electronically, all the specific information related to the jobseekers’ experience and qualification are categorized for further sorting. The Employment department will match the information with the vacancy database maintained pertaining to placement available in the private sector. MOMP will contact the jobseekers once there are available vacancies which match their profile . Once the private company has selected the candidates for the training programme, MOMP endorses the training contract which is registered in the system. The training period is then specified and the commitments of the establishment, trainee and institute are identified in the contract which shall also include the area of training and the vocation which will be filled by the candidate after he completes the training period and the monthly salary of the post.

Finally, After the completion of training the trainees shall begin work according to the time and place mentioned in the contract followed by registration in the Public Authority for Social Insurance PASI. This would ensure that the trainees will enjoy the benefits offered to the workforce and their family through the social insurance system. The system provides real time integration between the different departments under one entity or with external parties like PASI, all the modules can be linked with different e-channels easily according to new Technology relies, such as the SMS services to new jobseekers.

The increased in the number of skilled Omani is an attractive indicator for foreign direct investment. As of July 2010, MOMP has successfully placed about 48,000 of the 79,000 jobseekers. Through the Naamal programme, the government continue to train these jobseekers to meet the demands of the local burgeoning economy.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
In 2001, the Ministry of Manpower was established and a standalone system for data storage was developed.

In 2003 , through the Omanisation Strategy, the Government emphasized on jobseekers management such as the Naamal Programme

In 2007, the Naamal Programme was fully computerized, restructured and integrated with the National Manpower Registration System. It was enhanced to be more robust and more streamlined with other systems such as PASI , National Manpower Authority and Ministry of Education, Royal Courts Affairs and Ministry of Civil Service.

In 2009, MOMP introduced the following electronic services to improve their Government to Citizens eServices.
A.SMS Services: The ministry launched the SMS services for the job seekers. This is a modern service currently given to the job seekers who hold the 12 grade school certificates and the holder of university and diploma degrees. In case of the existence of a vacant job, SMS is sent to the job seeker, who has got the main conditions for such vacant job.
B. Mobile Employment Office: The mobile office services to the job seekers are expanded across the wilayat, as the office visited 15 wilyats all over the Sultanate during 2009. The office received 4,517 nationals, who were registered as job seekers, and then the office will perform its mission to find out the appropriate jobs for them.
C. Vacant Jobs Bank (new modules): Work is going on for updating the data of the private sector's establishments in the various economic businesses, as the national and expatriate labor force data were updated. Number of the workers whose data were updated by the vacant jobs bank till the end of 2009 reached 182,171 workers, 39.9% of them is national labor force, in addition to the investments in all the productive activities and sectors under the seventh five-year plan.
D. Through the MOMP Web Online Service's, jobseekers can register, enquire on their employment application and interact with the Ministry effective from the comfort of their homes.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
1.Issues with the jobseekers
a.The Ministry faced various challenges with the jobseekers such as those who dropped out of training before the end of the training period. To overcome this issue, MOMP encourages jobseekers to finish the course so that they can get extra pay incentive.
b. Jobseekers quit the job before completing the bond and search for job in other area of specialization. Their previous training becomes futile effort to emplace them in appropriate job. For such errant jobseekers, they are made to pay for the full cost of training before they can be emplaced into another job.

2. Oman is a rapidly developing country. With various mega infrastructure projects being developed in the country, there is an ever changing Omanisation target requirements which are derived based on the dynamic economic activities. With the initial 11 sectors being targeted for Omanisation in 2003, today there is an addition of 6 sectors. While the Omanisation target varies from sector to sector and from year to year, it becomes a constant challenge to monitor and accord the correct status to the private company. Nevertheless, through a complex IT-based system, MOMP is able to monitor, update and track the Omanisation target in all the sectors. For example, MOMP was able to ascertain that by 2010, the Hospitality Sector was able to achieve its target of 90% Omanisation, the Telecommunication Sector achieved a 68% Omanisation target while the Construction and the IT Sectors were not able to meet their 30% and 35% target respectively.

3. Technical issues
The Naamal Programme contains many modules integrated into a complex system at the backend. The system architecture includes connectivity and integration, migration with other systems within the Ministry. Data verification after migration and manually cleaning up the data took a long time. Nevertheless with the tenancity to verify all data after migration, the long and tedious tasks were completed and today the IT structure supporting the Naamal Programme is robust and generates reliable data for interpretation and planning.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Financial resources
The total cost of training 31,316 Omani candidate between 2003 to 2010 is estimated to be 65 million Omani Rials (168 million USD)

Technical resources
The IT backbone of the Naamal Programme was developed in-house by the IT Department

Ministry of Manpower used its pre existing technical devices and utilized its human resource in implementation of this project. As the number of beneficiaries and the system as a whole improved, MOMP invested in recruiting more staffs and advanced technical equipments.

With more branches spreading (currently 50 branches) out all over the Sultanate of Oman, the ministry invested highly on building a reliable network infrastructure which helped be a part on National Government network and provide a centralized database system implementation - instant access to data.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The Naamal programme is sustainable since 2003, more that 31,000 Omanis have been trained and found employment. The backend support system also provided accurate data which supported the Minsitry in developing strategic plans for the Omanisation objective. With further integration with the Ministry of Civil Service, Royal Courts Affairs, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education, more reliable information and data can be synthesize for accurate prognosis.

With the success of the Omanisation Strategy in Oman, other government in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) has shown interests to implement the Omanisation plan such as in Qatar. The Nationalisation plan is transferable within the GCC.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
- Omanisation target :
From 11 sectors in 2003 to 17 sectors in 2010, most sectors achieved the target except for the construction, telecommunication and transportation industries for example utilities sector target is 71% and 2010 reached 73%. Oil and Gas was set at 40% and today they have achieved. The Naamal progarmme succeeded in providing the skilled manpower for the various sectors in the country.

- Training Evaluation of the Graduate:
A department was established to follow-up on the career progression of the trainees. For example in Q3 2011, there were a total number of 535 who gained employment in 10 different companies. Out of 535 trainees who were trained and emplaced, 11.7% resigned. Number of graduates who refused to work in the same company was 7%, those who were terminated was 4.6% and 76.6% were successfully employed in the programme. The closely monitoring of the trainees in the Naamal Programme ensures that accurate data is channeled to the Omanisation Target and the graduates are able to perform the tasks in the industries for the skills that they have been trained for.

-Employability across the GCC:
The success of the Naamal Programme has created demand skilled Omani workforce in the other GCC countries. Hence, the Ministry of Manpower established the MOMP office in Qatar in 2003 and Dubai 2005. In 2003, 717 Omanis were employed in Qatar. In 2004, 1004 Omanis were employed in Qatar. In 2005, 393 Omanis gained employment in Qatar and another 143 were employed in Dubai. In 2006, another 191 Omanis were employed in Qatar and another 123 Omanis found employment in Dubai. The Naamal Programme has successfully provide employment for Omani jobseekers not only in Oman but the region.

-Creating employment for the Omanis:
Through the Naamal Programme, more than 31,000 jobseekers have been employed since 2003, increasing the quality in the workforce and providing employment to local Omanis. This helped reduced the unemployment in the country. Through the programme also, there is now better communication between the private sector and the Ministry in collaboration to fulfill the Omanisation objectives. The programme also provided jobseekers with a strong foundation in their career progression. Most importantly,the programme successfully trained and supplied the much required skilled workforce to match the burgeoning industries in Oman

- As the standards of living and education improved, Na’amal improved over the years to cater the needs of increased number of graduates and hence increased number of jobseekers entering the job market every year.
- Implementation of Na’amal program helped in making the statistics available for the Ministry in formulating its Omanisation strategy and hence keeping the unemployment rate in the country under check.

Lesson Learnt
1)From the technical perspective, changes in the Omanisation target affected the monitoring of the private company, hence had to implement the changes and follow-up the changes again. It would be more meaningful if the Omanisation target is set for a period of time so as to minimize changes and the need for constant follow-up activities to rectify the targets.
2)Tighter collaboration with the stakeholders, jobseekers and private companies to obtain feedback is a continuous process to ensure that the programme remain relevant and meet its objectives.
3)Change management plan should be in place before Implementation, minimum skills required for the human resources who will take on the project .
4)Documentation on each stage for better transferable ,sharing the knowledge and experiance .

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Manpower
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Redha Ahmed Al Lawati
Title:   Assistant Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   00968 2483 9230/00968 2481 5394
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   PB No. 413 Muscat
Postal Code:   113
City:   Muscat
State/Province:   Muscat
Country:   Oman

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