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This report quantifies the economic impact that innovative job training programs in the construction industry could have across the Yemeni economy, using the Al-Rayyan Hills construction project as an example.

For the next generation of Middle Eastern workers, substantial barriers stand in the way of finding employment and opportunities to build fulfilling careers based on meaningful work. Among the many issues that exist, three particular stumbling blocks exist for workers, their employers and the country:

a) A shortage of skills, and skilled workers, which constrains organisation growth and economic development;

b) Lack of a structured entry process into the formal sector of the economy, which is crucial for career success but often difficult or impossible for workers who start in the informal sector as they wish to make the necessary transition; and

c) Inadequate connection between supply and demand – private companies play an increasingly important role in shaping the market for in-demand skills, but have almost no voice in what skills are trained for because of current education and employment practices.

Workforce skills need to be developed and deficiencies overcome to create flourishing economies. Private companies need skilled workers to expand, but they can’t afford to gamble with locally sourced, and potentially low-skilled, workers because of often restrictive and stringent practices around hiring and firing that limit their freedom to recover from hiring mistakes. These companies need assurance that the workers they hire have the needed skills to succeed, so they don’t take any unnecessary risks while hiring in domestic labour markets. Training that is tailored specifically to the needs of industries has the potential to address these issues.

a) The skills constraint to growth can begin to be removed as training and the supply of skills increasingly conforms to specific company needs;

b) Informal sector or first-time workers can be educated by an intermediary training provider, and thus have the potential to flow more easily into formal sector employment; and

c) Workers could receive signals from the private sector about in-demand skills in a situation where the training provider is able to work directly with the companies actually hiring them.

Silatech has sponsored a pilot training venture that follows this model in Yemen, which is engaged in providing construction skills training for Yemeni workers who are hired by private sector clients and projects. One such example includes a well known project in Sana’a: the Al-Rayyan Hills project. The training venture has the potential to provide lasting benefits to Yemen. It is now in a position to create a nucleus of activity and a proof point that, when scaled, could remove significant gaps between the Yemeni construction workforce and the private construction industry. This venture has specific benefits to young people, who are specifically trained with the objective of ensuring that the skills gained remain in the labour force over the long term, and thus benefit their families, communities and the national economy of Yemen.

This report quantifies the economic impact that this sort of training could have across the Yemeni economy, and uses the Al-Rayyan Hills construction project as an example. This argument holds for other countries, and this approach is one that could be, and needs to, be replicated in other Middle Eastern countries as well.