MiSK and GA join hands to transform ME economy

GA to prepare Saudi students for high tech careers from next month

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Saudi Gazette report

THE Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Foundation (MiSK), a nonprofit organization founded by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in 2011 to empower Saudi young people, on Friday announced a partnership with global education pioneer General Assembly (GA) to offer technology skills training programs that will prepare men and women in Saudi Arabia for the most in-demand careers of the digital age.

This is the first program of its kind in the region, and GA joins a rapidly growing number of leading education institutions, technology firms, and international and philanthropic organizations partnering with MiSK to advance its mission of discovering, developing, and empowering Saudi young people to become active participants in the knowledge economy.

Details of the partnership were unveiled on the third day of the high-profile visit to Britain of Crown Prince Muhammad, deputy premier and minister of defense. During the visit, the Crown Prince met with Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Theresa May, Prince Charles, Prince Harry and other high ranking British leaders and officials.

On Thursday, the Crown Prince met British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philippe Hammond and a number of CEOs of major British companies. They discussed aspects of cooperation between the two countries in economic and development fields. He also met with a number of British MPs representing different parties. In their meetings they discussed means of further enhancing Saudi-British relations in various fields.

Also on Thursday, Saudi firms and businesses signed agreements worth more than SR8.9 billion ($2.13 billion) with British bodies and companies. Agreements signed included the sectors of health, investment, innovation and energy. Among the deals signed during is the investment of SR1 billion on health care centers in Saudi Arabia. In a related context, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority granted 10 licenses for direct investment of UK companies in Saudi Arabia. Also, British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca obtained a license to invest in the Kingdom.

According to the partnership agreement, by 2021, MiSK and GA will offer the latter’s award-winning technology training to more than 4,000 men and women in the region, preparing them for careers in web development, data science, design, digital marketing, and product management, among other disciplines. Starting in April, these courses will be taught on the ground in Riyadh by world-class industry practitioners from GA’s global instructor network, and build on GA’s award-winning curriculum, designed and tested with a network of cutting-edge startups and Fortune 500 companies. Enrollments into the first courses will begin in the coming weeks.

Interested potential students can visit ga.co/riyadh to learn more and sign up.

“Young people are coming of age in a world that is changing more than at any time in human history,” said Mohammed Abuazzah, chief marketing officer of the MiSK. “Knowledge, skills, creativity and adaptability are the crucial currency of the future. That’s why MiSK is committed to working with partner organizations such as GA to equip Saudi youth with the skills they need to meet the challenge of change. This partnership is part of our ambitious plan to develop a hub of IT excellence within the Kingdom, and create a pipeline of skilled talent to power our transformation.”

To date, over 40,000 students have participated in GA’s digital skills transformation programs, and close to 300 companies, including one-third of the Fortune 100, have worked with GA to deliver radical reskilling initiatives and develop customized talent pipelines.

In GA’s three-month, 500-hour immersive trainings, students learn by doing, and are taught by leading practitioners in dynamic fields like machine learning, front-end web development, cyber-security, and product management. Students are prepared for jobs of the future through an innovative teaching model that blends instruction, collaborative projects, and career readiness training. Students complete their GA experience with highly relevant digital skills, a robust project portfolio, and a “lifelong learning” mindset that prepares them to respond and adapt to future changes in technology. GA will operate alongside other leading training providers, including Harvard University, Khan Academy, and LinkedIn, to provide education to thousands of Saudis, adding to the ranks of leading education and talent innovators working to build a new Saudi Arabia.

“At General Assembly, we believe that education is the key to transforming lives and creating opportunity,” said Jake Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder of General Assembly. “We have worked with companies and individuals around the world to empower tens of thousands of adults to pursue the work they love. We look forward to bringing our transformational education programs to a new region of the world, and are excited to stand alongside Misk’s other partners, including Google, The Boston Consulting Group, and Harvard University to drive economic opportunity in the Middle East and create career pathways for the next generation of tech talent in the region.”


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