In support of Saudi Vision 2030’s mission of empowering youth with opportunities, the Citi Foundation and Education For Employment (EFE) partnered together to create job and economic opportunities for 30 unemployed Saudi youth in the first six months of 2018. With Citi Foundation’s support, EFE introduced its “Work Readiness Program” to Saudi Arabia for the first time, nurturing and inspiring young Saudi women and men with skills to succeed on the job and in life. 50% of the graduates are young women, reflecting EFE and Citi Foundation’s shared commitment to economic opportunities for women.
The training program was designed to highlight various aspects of the employment search such as effective communication, emotional intelligence, time management and interpersonal skills to meet employer expectations, and overcome the challenges of adjusting to the work environment. 100% of program graduates were placed into pre-committed jobs in the private sector, thus enabling them to make a valuable contribution to the community and economy.
Zuhair Al Zahrani, a graduate of the EFE-Citi sponsored program, recommends this experience to his peers, saying: “After EFE’s training I realized how much it changed me and since then I advise my colleagues to never let anything get in the way of improving and building new skills, which will reflect on the way we present ourselves and our companies in the best manner possible.”
Mr. Amr Abdallah, Director of Gulf Programs at EFE-Global, added: “The skills that Saudi youth acquired in this program are based on the proven model that has enabled the EFE Network to introduce 73,000 unemployed youth to the world of work in nine countries across the Middle East and North Africa. We are proud to partner with the Citi Foundation to have brought this transformative training to Saudi Arabia to help Saudi youth reach their potential and compete in growing sectors such as service. We look forward to the continuous partnership between EFE and the Citi Foundation.”
“We’re thrilled to see that our partnership with EFE has helped these young Saudi women and men become work-ready and secure jobs that will enable them to contribute to the Kingdom’s economy,’’ said Carmen Haddad, Citi Country Officer-Saudi Arabia. ‘’The EFE partnership falls within Citi Foundation’s efforts to reach 500,000 youth globally and to help the next generation to move closer towards their career goals and sustainable futures..
Increasingly, private sector employers such as Nesma Embroidery and SaudiReadyMix, which hired the inaugural EFE-Citi Foundation program graduates, are turning to EFE for qualified entry-level employees who are committed, ready to work, and advance their corporate commitment to Saudization. Rana Zumai, General Manager at Nesma Embroidery and an EFE - Citi Employer partner, added: “We are really grateful cooperating with EFE with their well-established courses, as they’ve delivered several training programs to our employees throughout Saudi Arabia, leaving a great impact in developing their soft skills. With EFE’s initiative, Nesma Embroidery was the first to give a finance course to non-finance operational employees. We appreciate the efforts of EFE’s highly qualified team, the professional communication and their transparency in sharing post training outcomes. It’ll be our pleasure to repeat this successful partnership”
The program in Saudi Arabia is part of a regional Citi-EFE partnership in alignment with the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress global approach that prepares youth with career readiness skills and opportunities to thrive in today’s economy. Now entering its fifth year, the Citi-EFE partnership provides training and economic opportunities to unemployed youth in Morocco, Tunisia, and, for the first time, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In 2018 alone, the partnership will impact over 400 youth, nearly doubling the impact achieved in the partnership’s first four years. Beyond providing direct program support to EFE, the Citi Foundation has played a unique and crucial role in enhancing the efficacy of the EFE Network by supporting EFE’s systems and outreach.