The Grand Hotel in Ramallah, Palestine, was the venue for a special launch event held by a Wetherby-based training company.
Pitman Training, which administers 76 franchise operations throughout the UK and Ireland from its Audby Lane headquarters, has opened its first vocational skills centre in the territory to help address the expanding skills gap there.
Its aim is to offer credible courses and diplomas in a bid to raise skill-levels among the largely underqualified workforce, and in turn help to rebuild the shattered Palestinian economy.
The investment is seen as so significant that the event was attended by more than 100 local business representatives, politicians and ambassadors, including Michael Jillah, Head of Prosperity for the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, and Khalil Rizq, vice chairman of the Federation of Palestine Chambers.
The new centre is headed by master franchisee Nasri Barghouti, who has trained and worked in the UK since leaving school and has remained passionate about exploring work-based learning and vocational curriculums in the education sector.
He said; “Following extensive research for a fitting partner in Palestine, I have found Pitman Training to be the leaders in the courses they deliver, and am genuinely impressed with their vision to expand their offering and knowledge in many parts of the world through collaborations with like-minded organisations and individuals who share the same ethos towards the importance of continued learning and development, and vocational training.
“It became obvious in Palestine that there needs to be more emphasis on the benefits and skills acquired through vocational training for both professionals and employers. It is easy to conclude that Pitman Training has arrived in Palestine at the optimum time to offer a new approach in training individuals to survive professionally and meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Recent studies have highlighted severe problems in the quality and relevance of the current educational system in Palestine, leading to frustration among Palestinian employers from all sectors, in relation to professionals and young people entering the job market without relevant vocational knowledge, skills and attitudes.
As a result, working to strengthen the human capital in the region is seen as vital to the continued growth and stability of the Palestinian economy.
Andrew Walters, Pitman Training Group franchise sales director, said; “The launch event proved the appetite that there is in Palestine for learning and education, and with key leaders of both government and business in attendance the demand was clear to see.
“Our new centre is state-of-the-art and located in an ideal neighbourhood within Ramallah, and if the excitement about our launch continues as it has to date we will hope to roll out a series of other centres across the wider region.”
Pitman Training traces its origins to Sir Isaac Pitman’s invention of shorthand in 1837. It specialises in office, IT, administration, finance and business skills and trains more than 25,000 people each year.