Pearson, the world’s largest education company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the private equity firm, Cedarbridge, to help realise the Egyptian Government’s goal of up-skilling workers to strengthen the long-term economic viability of Egypt.
The MOU was signed at the launch of the Government’s new Tamkeen project, an initiative of the Ministry of Industry’s Training Council, which will see the standard of training improved throughout Egypt. Cedarbridge has been responsible for organising this programme, gathering together a consortium of international education and training providers that can provide high quality, rapid skills development programmes to quickly upgrade the capabilities of the aspiring, as well as the existing Egyptian workforce.
Cedarbridge is well placed to take on this role, having significant experience investing in promising organisations and teams throughout the region, supporting them financially and operationally to achieve their goals. The education sector is of special interest to Cedarbridge, given the levels of government investment in education across the MENA region.
The Managing Director of Cedarbridge, Imad Ghandour says: “The Tamkeen initiative is seeking to train over one million skilled and semi-skilled workers in Egypt over the next seven years, orientating graduates into industries where there is high national and global demand. The programme will provide graduates with vocational certification, as well as increasing their language capabilities and work skills, making them more attractive to local and international employers”.
The ultimate aim of the new initiative is to increase the salaries of Egyptians, boosting consumption, and increasing the country’s GDP growth. The programme should also help to ease Egypt’s growing youth unemployment levels.
Under the MOU, Pearson will become a total solutions provider for the project, designing and developing programmes with international certification, and working with its Egyptian partners to successfully deliver these programmes across the country.
Ms Christine Ozden, who leads the education work that Pearson carries out in the region, spoke at the launch, saying: “Pearson will make the most of its international experience and local presence to deliver world class products and services, helping Egypt overcome the significant economic challenges it is currently facing. The initiative will increase GDP through a growth in consumption, and by improving education standards – enhance economic growth through the development of workplace productivity and greater levels of entrepreneurship.
“New graduates increase their employability when they are given the skills demanded by employers, such as effective communication, initiative, work ethic and time management. With Egypt’s burgeoning youth population, and high levels of youth unemployment, it is critical that graduates are given every opportunity to find work, and succeed in their chosen careers”.
The project will not only equip Egyptians with new qualifications and skills, but also help graduates enter the workplace through close coordination with employers in local and global corporations. Graduates will also be marketed to potential employers through a network of offices in Africa, the GCC, Libya, Iraq, Europe and employment agencies around the world.
This matching of employer needs with graduate competencies will help overcome the significant skills gap that exists in Egypt, and the wider region. Ms Ozden says: “We have an established presence in Egypt, and work here everyday with employers, learning institutions and government ministries and they all stress the importance of equipping learners not only with excellent theoretical knowledge, but the right skills and attitude for work, in the right sectors”.
“We have far reaching global experience in this area, working in more than 85 countries around the world, helping millions of learners achieve their goals. We have an extensive portfolio, which includes traditional print based texts, digital e-learning technology, internationally recognised academic and vocational qualifications, and assessment and administration solutions. All our offerings encompass the very latest in technology, and are especially created to engage and inspire learners”.
Ms Ozden says Pearson strongly believes that learning, and programmes such as this have the power to change lives and communities: “Pearson has over 150 years’ experience helping individuals transform their lives through learning. We have seen first-hand how well developed, and well implemented education programmes can make a tangible difference at a national level, and we hope that the launch of this initiative will have a lasting positive impact on Egyptians, we therefore wish this project success and are proud to be a part of it.”
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