As the world’s number one education provider, the UK’s City & Guilds signs an exclusive partnership with Bahrain’s Strategic Outsourcing Solutions. BTM finds out what’s in store.
With a history dating back more than 100 years, City & Guilds (C&G) is known and trusted the world over for educational, technical and practical qualifications that are recognised and highly valued by employers and governments due to the rigorous quality assurance procedures employed.
C&G regional manager, Tony Degazon, explains: “Our mission is to help people develop the skills they need to succeed – the skills that help them progress into a job, on the job and onto the next job.
“Training institutes, colleges and other organisations provide the day-to-day training and our role is to ensure that City & Guilds standards [in areas such as equipment, facilities and instruction] are maintained for all qualifications that are C&G accredited. This is done through a team of expert assessors.
“We also work with governments and ministries across the region to support strategic technical and vocational reform and believe we can offer significant value to Bahrain with our experience and expertise.”
Locally, he cites the example of a long-established company which has recently created an oil and gas academy and is using C&G to support tech training for new Bahraini graduates to work in the industry. It also uses the organisation’s ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) standards that support supervisors and line management in training and progression.
“A lot of companies come on board because they want to be measured against a third-party standard. It’s an international standard, so they can say their training is world class,” says Tony.
“C&G and ILM are also progressive, they [students] can continue on to do other things and our qualifications give them an opening to that – with ILM, students can go from entry level to Master’s.”
Now SOS (Strategic Outsourcing Solutions), a division of Red House Marketing, has been appointed as the company’s exclusive representative in Bahrain, allowing face-to-face communication on the ground.
Red House chairman, George Middleton, says: “As an Anglo-Bahraini businessman, living in Bahrain for 39 years, I have identified and am acutely aware of the need to support the youth in their pursuit of vocational qualifications to help them do their jobs to the best of their ability and provide world-class facilities in our country.”
Tony continues: “Training allows people to support themselves and their families. His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has said that Bahraini people enjoy working and they want to do their best. We’re supporting them to do that.
“We also get involved in quite high-level government infrastructural development; for example we’ve just completed a TVET reform piece of research for Dubai – positioning Dubai as a high-skills hub and the strategy needed for that to be realised.
“The GCC is exploring skills testing for migrant workers in the country of origin, which would assure the quality of workers but also provide greater employment mobility and protection.”
The two companies are looking to support sectors including hospitality and tourism, also engineering and oil and gas – current focal points of high significance.
Tony adds: “C&G is also investing in high-skill technical training and has recently made an acquisition in nuclear engineering.”
Assessments are performed by qualified people who come in externally to verify performance and results. A key aspect of C&G qualifications is that they test knowledge and understanding through exams and also assess practical competence, ensuring international-standard qualifications.
George concludes: “I look forward to the task in hand in support of our joint objective of encouraging self-reliance in my fellow Bahrain citizens through the attainment of practical skill sets and expertise. This will enable them to embark on productive and rewarding careers in the future.
“I am confident that the City & Guilds-ILM trajectory of success in the area is at its very beginning and I look forward to being able to contribute effectively to the organisation’s development in this regard.”