With the establishment of ambitious development goals for industries such as aeronautics, automotive and agro-industrial manufacturing, all which have become key contributors to the GDP, the demand for skilled workers has become a key issue. In line with this is the need for the kingdom to reduce unemployment. According to the High Commission for Planning, in the third quarter of 2017 unemployment for women, graduates, and 15 to 24-year olds was at 15.1%, 18.2% and 29.3%, respectively. With these factors in mind, vocational training programmes are becoming important links between the private and public sector, and part of the government’s case to attract more industry to the country as it works to bring new focus to its human resources. “The workforce has long had sufficient capacity for the agricultural sector, and so the challenge now is to switch this to the industrial sector,” Jad Benhamdane, senior economic and sectorial analyst at BMCE Bank, told OBG.
SECTOR STRATEGY: Much of the focus on vocational training in the kingdom has been guided by Morocco’s Office for Professional Training and Employment Promotion (Office de la Formation Professionnelle et de la Promotion du Travail, OFPPT), which aims to train as many as 1.7m students over the course of the 2016-20 period. In addition, a host of international partners, as well as associations linked to specific manufacturing segments, have taken an increasing role in helping to design training policies to suit improvements in productivity.
Moreover, since manufacturing has developed in segment-focused clusters in special economic zones (SEZs), targeted vocational teaching and training capacity have naturally been incorporated into these areas as well. A clear example of this was the opening of the Institut des Métiers de l’Aéronautique in 2011. The centre, situated next to Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca and the aeronautics-focused Midparc Casablanca Free Zone, offers both initial and advanced skills training. An expansion project completed at the beginning of 2017 allowed for the school to increase its yearly capacity from 800 to 1200 students in training programmes and add 300 spots for continuing education. This was done in an effort to meet 2020 goals of adding 23,000 technicians to the aeronautics segment, which would be double the 11,500 total workers reported in 2016.
DRIVING TALENT: The auto industry, the kingdom’s largest exporter, is also broadening its educational base. Though Tangiers, where much of the segment is focused, has many training programmes, centres in other areas are under way. In mid-2016 construction, scheduled to last two years, begun on a new automotive training centre in Kenitra, where car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroën is building a new €557m plant scheduled to open in 2019 (see overview). The facility will cost Dh35m (€3.2m) and will be managed by the OFPPT, which also provided financing in conjunction with the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity. The location will be able to train over 1760 technicians per year in auto mechanics, electro mechanics and assembly upon completion.
Additionally, in late 2016 a new Heavy Construction and Commercial Vehicles Academy opened in Settat, 84 km south of Casablanca. The institute, which will train around 150 students a year, was created through a partnership involving the UN Industrial Development Organisation, the US Agency for International Development, the Volvo Group and Morocco’s Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research. Alongside courses, the centre will offer a referral service to improve links to employment opportunities in automotive manufacturing. Also located in Settat, in early 2016 the OFPPT opened an institute geared towards construction and infrastructure. The Dh312.5m (€28.9m) school, built on 84 ha, will provide training in 21 activities related to construction for up to new 2000 trainees.
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