An interview with Saleh Mohammed DaifallahVocational training fund helps build Yemen [Archives:2004/707/Reportage]

January 29 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Finding skillful labor meeting requirements of labor market in Yemen and capable of keeping pace with developments and challenges at the labor market is considered one of the responsibilities of establishments and centers for vocational training. Thus the Vocational and Technical Training Fund constitues one of the pillars on which the strategy of developing economic situations is based through the development of social situation. Mohammed bin Sallam reporter from Yemen Times interviewed Mr. Saleh Mohammed Daifallah, Executive Director General of Vocational and Technical Training Fund (VTTF) and filed the following interview:

Q: What are the goals of the Vocational and Technical Training Fund (VTTF)?
A: The main goal is to seek multi-resources for funding the process of training in the manner meeting labour market needs of well-trained and skillful labour before and after services.
Q: Since when has the VTTF started work in Yemen?
A: It has started since 1996 according to a special law and it is a sector connecting between the state institutions and those of the private sector. The private sector participates in its administration through a board of directors.
Q: What are the parties that support the VTTF?
A: They are practically the employers, in both public and private sectors, who are owners and masters of big, medium and small installations and they render their support as monthly contributions which the fund receives. Contributions are collected from employees by 1 per cent deduction from their wages and salaries and financial allowances working for those institutions.
Q: Can a secondary school graduate join directly these training centers, or is admission confined to those working for those companies and institutions?
A: The fund offers training to employees only, before and during their service. Before the service in the institutions training is offered at centers of the VTTF in supporting curricula and supplies and also to train trainers to prepare these institutions for receiving students before joining work.
Q: What are the sides benefiting from the VTTF?
A: They are only the contributing institutions, whether the private or the public or the mixed sector and this includes all the governorates.
Q: Do practice supervision on private technical institutes that are almost spread in all governorates?
A: Our major role is organizing and funding the training process in a way making costs of training programs not an impeding factor before training, whether the worker or the employer to help continue the training process. We also perform supervision but the ministry of technical training and vocational education as well as the concerned ministry play the bigger role n supervising those establishments.
Q: What is the database the fund is in possession and how do you invest it?
A: The database we depend is composed of two sections: the first is related to employers data in that of sorts of activities, names of institutions, number of employees and training needs required for those employees; the second part is connected to the training establishments existing inn the country, both private and public sectors, through human potentials, supplies and various programs that can be implemented.
Q: What are the more important general strategies the VTTF has adopted for carrying out its plans?
A: The most important of strategies is the annual training of 15% labour in the labour market, a figure considered big. And in line with our ambitions it is supposed to train 180 worker per year as minimum but as a result of some circumstances around us, among which the international support, the figure which is trained every year is not exceeding 20 thousand workers.
Q: How much is the amount of support per year the government offers to the fund and for development of skills?
A: In the year 2003 the amount of government support reached YR 205 million, added to that the contributions of employers that amount to about YR 600-700 million a year. There is another source of revenues coming to us form work permits granted to foreign labour at a rate of YR 5000 Yemeni for each foreign employee and they could total YR 70 million a year.
Presently we are trying to search for additional income sources through donations, grants and aid or from Yemeni and foreign donors to enhance the role of the VTTF with the goal of guaranteeing that those establishments perform their tasks according to our ambitions. We are now preparing for an ambitious future project with the Social Fund of Development in supporting training for small enterprises which we have not yet dealt with.
Q: How much is the total yearly revenue of the VTTF?
A: Last year it amounted to YR 800 million.
Q: Among the VTTF tasks is to prepare skilled labour, what is the figure of skilled labour the fund has since its foundation achieved?
A: Part of our tasks is to qualify for short training or activation courses to update skills and develop them. For instance in the year 2003 we have trained 8000 thousand trainees in industry, trade, computer, languages, hotels and tourism fields and some other skills.
Q. There are some private vocational establishments and centers, how many are they and what are their capacities?
A: of the important aims of the VTTF is activation of investors for investment in the field of human resources building through establishment of training institutions such as community colleges and different training centers. Actually this activity has been improved. The VTTF is now dealing with 80 special training institutions in five main Yemeni governorates, and that is only in 2003.
Q: In your viewpoint how do you assess the technical education and vocational training in Yemen and does it meet labour requirements?
A: Certainly it does not meet all requirements. The project needs huge potentials that are not available at least at the present. It is a strategic goal in itself. Nevertheless, there is a tangible progress in this direction. The most important about it is the increasing and limitless attention given by the government. There is a serious direction for human development through training and developing human abilities and building the human who is considered the actual output for consolidating economic development.
Q: What about requirements for joining the GCC that sets conditions for receiving Yemeni labour matching the Asian labour, can Yemen send labour to the GCC in such conditions at the foreseeable period?
A: Enhancement of the fund's role and resources for training labour would certainly enhance its role in meeting requirements of the market whether in the local or regional level.
Q: What were last year's achievements?
A: The fund implemented 120 training courses and programs in various fields. Implemented more than 400 training courses and spent on them more than YR 250 million. The fund carried out those programs at more than 80 training establishments. There have been 74 economic unit that benefited from the 2003 training programs for the first time.
Q: what are your programs in the present year 2004?
A: The most important goal we seek to attain is dealing with the legislative side through trying to finalize the issuance of the new draft law that aims at tackling some legal problems and strengthening resources.
Q: What are the foreign donor sides supporting you?
A: Up to now there are no ones, but we are in the process of starting cooperation through the Yemeni Social Fund for Development.
Q: I mean are there European countries or others supporting you?
A: There is a support but not directly, but rather via the Social Fund or via the ministry of technical education and vocational training.
Q: How do you practice monitoring the training institutions and centers and on what criteria?
A: Supervision is fulfilled through legal and scientific criteria. The legal aspect is represented by the existence of licenses obtained from concerned parties, such as the ministry of technical education and vocational training and regarding the scientific, technical criteria and school curricula and accommodation capacity of each center or establishment as well as available means of training, are all joint tasks supervised by the ministry.
Q: Do all companies of the private and public sectors deal with you and cooperate?
A: In fact not all of them but there are 1800 companies and establishments in various governorates, there is a big number of them did not join or cooperate with the VTTF.
Q: Do you employ foreign trainers or experts?
A: Training process is carried out according to the nature of the program. Some training programs are carried out locally, others are done at the work sites. Some programs necessitate bringing experts from abroad and there are training programs we need to send the employees to other countries.
Q: Have you sent employees for training to other countries?
A: Yes. There are now training programs carried out in Malaysia and Egypt in the field of programs and building and constructions and suspension bridges.
Q: How much do you think the budget the VTTF needs?
A: In order to carry out its required role an goal the VTTF needs more than $11 million.
Q: What role would the VTTF play in the infrastructure and electronic government?
A: The success of the electronic government would depend on providing human cadres that would operate these systems and continuous training on them. Thus the VTTF would have a clear role in its success and continuation.
Q: Any final comment?
A: I'd like to clarify that there has been an activation in all of the fund's actions except what is related to the role of donors. This is a role we hope the donor countries would play in increasing their assistance especially in 2004. And through the Yemen Times we invite the donor countries to get acquainted with the VTTF activities and its role in developing human resources for the labour market in Yemen and consequently directing support for achieving economic development in Yemen.