• Majid Jafar to tell business leaders that everyone has a stake in preparing young people for work in wake of COVID-19
  • Crescent-sponsored Edraak Career Readiness programme has prepared close to 250,000 young people across the MENA region with critical employment skills

Sharjah, UAE, 22nd October 2020— Majid Jafar, the CEO of Crescent Petroleum, the oldest and largest privately-held oil and gas company in the Middle East, is urging companies and business leaders to take the lead in preparing young people for a new world of work in the wake of COVID-19 and its associated economic impacts. The global pandemic has made the existing challenge of creating work opportunities for young people even more difficult, putting pressure on governments and presenting numerous challenges for society. Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s “Jobs Reset Summit” on Thursday, he will emphasise that companies and business leaders must play a role in helping young people learn the new skills necessary to succeed in this emerging new world.

“The world is changing, and the world of work has changed with it. But there is a whole generation of young people who will bear the brunt of the economic fallout. Successful companies and business leaders should present real and immediate solutions to help retool and retrain these young people to harness their talents and pave a new path forward. We must all collaborate to ensure these efforts succeed and grow, for the sake of the next generation and the region and the world’s future growth,” says Mr. Jafar, who is also a signatory to the World Economic Forum’s Principles of Stakeholder Capitalism for the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr Jafar is speaking on the panel session “Global Skills Outlook 2021: Scenarios for a Learning Reset”, hosted and broadcast by the BBC, and offering an outlook for education, skills and learning. He is joined on the panel by Zulfikar Bukhairi, Minister of State and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Andreas Schleicher, Director of the Directorate of Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Kumg Phoak, the Deputy-Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In discussing the important role of business in the re-skilling effort, Mr Jafar is highlighting the success of the Crescent-sponsored Edraak Career Readiness programme, a three-part online employee preparedness and soft skills course that has had close to 250,000 young people in the Arab world register so far, to learn English language, basic computer skills, and general office skills. The course went live during the outbreak of COVID-19 and has received considerable attention.

The Edraak Career Readiness programme is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs), offering free and open online courses that aim to boost the employability skills of young people across the MENA region. The programme’s goal is to train 500,000 young people with skills not necessarily taught in school or university but which are critical to getting ahead in the new world of work. The programme continues to accept registrations free of charge and aims to prepare young prospective job seekers in the basics of communicating and working in the modern workplace.

The first course offered, Business Essentials, has already registered tens of thousands of young people from across the MENA region. English for the Workplace, developed in collaboration with the British Council and Digital Literacy all sought to provide young Arabic-speakers with skills not normally taught in school.

“We believe online education programmes like this can significantly support young people continue to develop and grow their skills for the modern workplace, and we are proud to be half way towards our goal of boosting the employability skills of half a million young people across the region,” says Mr Jafar. “Industry research has highlighted that the single biggest impediment to youth employment is the lack of basic skills in these key areas required for today’s job market. That has never been more critical as the economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 heightens the emphasis on such core skills.”

“We are proud to have played a role in empowering young people from across our region to build a brighter future. Youth unemployment is a major challenge across our region, and as we all face the fallout from the Coronavirus we hope to give young people an opportunity to continue to develop and grow their employability skills,” he adds.

The World Economic Forum Jobs Reset Summit is being held online from 20-23 October, convening leaders from business, government, civil society, media and the broader public around the world to create a new vision, new standards and new partnerships to mobilize the best of human capabilities, technologies, innovative policies and market forces in service of a new vision to we can proactively shape more inclusive, fair and sustainable economies, organizations, societies and workplaces.