Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fashion Apparels to support the training of 300 Omani women jobseekers so that they can work in the clothing industry. PDO external affairs and communication manager, Suleiman Al Mantheri signed the agreement with Fashion Apparels executive director, Harinder BS Lamba at an official ceremony at PDO’s Knowledge World centre in Al Qurum.
Fashion Apparels will employ the school leavers on successful completion of a six-month course at its factory in the Salalah Free Zone. The garments firm has opened a new $20mn production unit on the site and plans to export around 12 million clothing items a year. At its full capacity by 2018, it aims to employ 500 Omanis. Under the terms of the MoU, PDO is committed to sponsor the women through the tailoring training programme, which will include sewing machine techniques and English communication and computer skills. It is the latest move by the company to extend its job creation efforts beyond the oil and gas industry to other sectors of the economy.
PDO managing director Raoul Restucci said, “PDO is pleased to partner with Fashion Apparels on this vocational training programme which will provide hundreds of Omani women with jobs in the clothing industry. “PDO is dedicated to supporting the Sultanate’s economy by expanding work opportunities for both Omani men and women so that they can create a sustainable future for themselves. This means we will be supporting more vocational training for nationals beyond our natural boundaries in the oil and gas industry to aid economic development and diversification in other sectors.”
The women will work on items for leading brands such as Walmart, Macy’s, J.C. Penney.
Fashion Apparels human resources manager, Hassan Khashoub said: “We are committed to developing young Omanis who have the right attitude to work. As the required skills are not available in Salalah, we are designing our own training programme in collaboration with PDO. The programme will have a combination of technical and soft skills aimed at grooming youngsters to take up management position in the due course of time.”
The tailoring course, which will include technical and on-the-job training, is being run by the Arabian Training Institute in Salalah. It is being run as part of PDO’s National Objectives programme, which was launched in 2011 and has so far created more than 20,000 employment, redeployment and training opportunities for jobseekers with its oil and gas contracting community.
Al Mantheri said, “We are now also committed to diversifying our support outside our core business to help the development and employment of Omanis in other economic sectors. “For example, as well as partnering with Fashion Apparels, PDO also recently signed an agreement with Oman Air to support the training of the jobseekers in a variety of cabin and ground staff positions, along with the upskilling of a further 100 existing Oman Air customer service staff. This approach underlines the central role that PDO plays across the nation’s entire economy and we will do all we can to support His Majesty’s aim of greater Omanisation and extending the professional capacity and capability of Omanis.”
PDO has also championed female economic empowerment through its Banat Oman project which has so far trained 300 women from low-come backgrounds in traditional Omani crafts and skills so they can earn a living and set up their own businesses.