EMBRACING THE FUTURE

Saudi Arabia 2020 | EDUCATION | VIP INTERVIEW

The Future Institute of Higher Education and Training is trying to help women by providing courses they need to adapt to a new Saudi Arabia.

Can you walk us through the evolution of the Future Institute of Higher Education and Training since it was founded?

Since its foundation in 1991, this institute has constantly played a crucial role in empowering young Saudis, constantly expanding in terms of geographical presence, clients' profile, courses offering and accreditation. Our dual goal is to increase the employment rate among skilled Saudis and ensure a higher rate of competent and qualified Saudis enter the workforce. In order to achieve these objectives, the institute had to undergo a constant process of innovation to adapt to a dynamic, changing business environment, especially since the announcement of Vision 2030. The changes and progress within the organization are clear. From being a center, it became an institute offering recognized diplomas; from offering courses just in Jeddah, we are now present in other cities such as Riyadh and Medina; from training only women, it now trains both female and male workers; from being known for its training in creative development, it now offers courses in over 65 different areas; and from being mainly focused on B2C channels, it is establishing a more thorough B2B avenue that offers over 50 programs for companies within different sectors can benefit from. The institute never stopped advancing and improving to raise the standards of the broader education segment of the country.

What helped the institute to remain active and adjust to the rapid changes in the education and work environment?

Over its 28-year history, the Future Institute has become so much more than an education facility, developing into a vital tool for helping women enter a wide range of the country's workforce. We have pioneered courses for women in a range of areas, recognizing and forecasting areas in which women would soon be permitted to work. This foresight has enabled Future to grow into the market leader for educating women.

What assessment methods does the institute provide?

For our B2C segment, we have a benchmark that serves as a general standard, but we work with people in a hands-on way in order to ensure their personal development. At times, different candidates need different instructions based on what you are trying to teach and depending on their learning styles. Our main body of students are working professionals or entrepreneurs, but we do have some university students who come here to complement their knowledge, so clearly there has to be a specialized approach to each one of them. With regard to our B2B channel, we work closely with companies to understand what exactly their employees need to have learned at the end of the course.

Looking at the medium term, what are your strategic priorities, and how do you seek to achieve them?

Our strategy remains focused on expanding regardless of the status of the economy. The country will always need qualified workforce, and our duty is to maintain a constant supply of skilled candidates. As such, we are trying to break into the B2G training space, an area traditionally difficult to gain a foothold in. I have worked with the Ministry of Education in the past, but even if you have developed a relationship with various ministries, there is a tendency in the government to hire people from abroad. This is an pattern that we would like to change, since there is a great deal of potential in our local training firms. We need to see the government tap into these local resources more. On the industry side, hospitality is an area we are interested in, because of its size and growth projections. As such, we are planning to add professional hospitality training to our offerings.