OMAN - Economy
CEO, National Training Institute (NTI)
Turkiya Sulieman Al Hasni has been CEO of NTI since July 2020. She joined NTI as an intern in 1994 and has become a key member of the NTI management team for a few years now. Her extensive knowledge of the organization, the wider training sector, and Omani statutory law made her ideally placed to drive growth across a challenging market. She completed her undergraduate degree in business administration—human resources from the University of Bedfordshire, UK, and has a master’s degree from Strathclyde University, Scotland in business administration.
NTI was established 1985 to deliver English language training. Then, we commenced providing vocational training (VT) and health, safety, and environment (HSE) in the 1990s. We then introduced the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), which was successfully delivered. Oman’s economy was starting to experience a boom and the government needed experts to man the market, and at the time positions available to Omanis were limited. Besides, there was a clear pattern to the Omani mindset, whereby citizens had become used to holding government jobs. But now, the mindset is shifting toward entering private sector positions. Experts brought experience to develop the economy, which was an essential and successful undertaking. At the start of the 1990s, we saw an interest to impose the policy of health and safety by the government, whereby companies were obliged to meet higher working standards. During that period, NTI won the HSE training contract with PDO in what was then a limited pool of institutes. Later, several competitors entered the market as it grew, and business became more challenging. The Omani market is small and cannot accommodate a large number of training institutions. In the mid-2000s, the market started picking up again as oil prices recovered. Having said that, oil prices have fluctuated from 2015. There have also been issues due to the impacts of the pandemic and economic and political changes. Certain projects were put on hold for some time. Our focus is to improve in our two major areas: VT and HSE. We have a great infrastructure that can accommodate around 370 students at a time. Due to the prevailing conditions in Oman, things are rather slow, but small projects have started opening. We go further than employment training. We do training for training, and we have recently introduce vocational diploma qualifications which were previously unavailable. Oman came up with procedures on how institutes could provide professional diplomas. The vocational diploma gives students opportunities to choose different paths. The vocational diploma is an equivalent to an academic diploma which can be used as a stepping stone to grow professionally or obtain an academic degree. The Ministry of Higher Education agreed to give us approval for a vocational diploma. We had around 50 candidates attend the trial training and are awaiting the signing of the agreement to start the program.
This process is required by every sector. Earlier, we used to focus on oil and gas, but today we include more training based on service demand. For example, if people ask for housekeeping training, we can arrange it. However, the sector is not an issue. We still mostly cater to oil and gas, although logistics is coming into the picture for the first time. An association for logistics companies was recently established, and they are ready to train Omanis to take the reins. The government realized that it is not about the percentage of Omanization, but about taking advantage of human capital performing at its best ability which can be achieved through training, but this remains a slow process. Locals do not need academic or theoretical material. What we need is technical experts with a focus on what Oman requires.
We have been in the services industry for quite a long time and are the oldest and largest institute in the Oman market. We know the market, and we have experts and facilities. We have the experience of establishing a new setup completely, as we did for BP some time ago, when they requested training centers for their staff specialized in oil and gas, such as drilling and production courses. When the project was completed, it was handed over to BP and it was an overall successful.