Interview: Larbi Bencheikh
What strategies have been put in place to help train and guarantee a qualified workforce?
LARBI BENCHEIKH: The Emergency Plan aims at providing a development framework for new industrial activities that generate wealth and jobs to allow better human and economic development opportunities. This framework agreement is based on three pillars: first, focusing efforts on sectors for which Morocco boasts competitive potential through development programmes; second, implementing cross-cutting projects through the reinforcement of small and medium-sized enterprises’ competitiveness, improving the business environment, and developing vocational training and integrated industrial platforms; and, third, maintaining good governance to implement these programmes.
Regarding human capital, there is demand for 220,000 new jobs by 2015, and our skilled workforce reinforces Morocco’s attractiveness as an investment destination. The OFPPT is playing a decisive role in training 200,000 operators and specialised technicians through its network. We adopted a sector-oriented approach on the basis of the Emergency Plan’s prerogatives to meet the needs of professionals in offshoring, agribusiness, aerospace, car, leather, textile and electronics. Our latest achievement has been creating the Institut Spé- cialisé des Métiers de l'Aéronautique et de la Logistique Aéroportuaire (ISMALA) in the Mohammed V International Airport zone, which will provide training in aircraft maintenance and logistics.
How can training add value to agricultural segments?
BENCHEIKH: OFPPT is instrumental in implementing Plan Maroc Vert, which aims to sustainably upgrade Moroccan agriculture. We have implemented an innovative training programme to contribute to the modernisation of agricultural companies and develop their competitiveness, and created four institutions to complete the task. This programme aims at improving skills in activities with high added value such as processing, packaging, management and technical training.
In which ways is entrepreneurship encouraged?
BENCHEIKH: Since 2006, OFPPT has pioneered supporting measures to ensure the viability of recently established companies through the development of training and support programmes for young entrepreneurs. In addition, since 2007, a supporting programme for start-ups has addressed the specific needs of industrial project developers. This programme allows more accuracy for candidate selection and provides assistance to project developers. So far, 5585 business plans have been developed, 1380 companies have been set up and 6600 jobs have been generated.
What are the major challenges to digital literacy?
BENCHEIKH: Improving digital literacy starts in primary school, by familiarising children with new technologies. In the short- and medium-term, large-scale campaigns must be conducted to raise awareness regarding new technologies. OFPPT gives youngsters, workers and job seekers vocational training to obtain international certifications for Microsoft products in 60 different cities and towns. These trainings help them to overcome their lack of IT knowledge.
How can there be a better connection between universities and needs of companies?
BENCHEIKH: There is a major dilemma with high rates of youth unemployment and an unsatisfied demand in skills among companies. To meet recommendations of the National Charter for Education and Training we have to implement a coherent observation system for training and employment for us to have pertinent and reliable indicators on specific needs in human resources. We also suggest the implementation of professional licenses for youngsters to pursue an upper secondary general education. Our upper education system must prioritise apprenticeship and work-based trainings as priority learning processes. It is mandatory to increase interactions between companies and universities for a better match between training and companies’ needs.
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