The Energy Blog
Empowering Egypt’s next generation of technicians and engineers
As one of the major global engineering companies, Siemens has been playing its role in improving living conditions for societies around the world. Perhaps a lesser known fact: For the last 125 years it has also been Germany’s biggest private educational institution. Now, the company is transferring its expertise in vocational and occupational education overseas by opening the first industry-run vocational training center in Ain Sokhna, Egypt.
One of the aims is surely to train technicians and engineers to service and maintain Siemens’ 24 powerful H-class turbines at the heart of the new power plants in Burullus, Beni Suef and New Capital. But, as Ahmed El Saadany, Learning Manager at Siemens Egypt, points out: “The vocational and occupational education at the new Training Center will also prepare candidates to join many other industrial sectors and better match the qualifications these industries need.”
Whole career path created for Egyptian youth
Earlier this year, Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG, had already made it clear that Siemens’ engagement for Egypt didn’t stop at delivering and installing the biggest power plants in the world. At the ceremony to mark the occasion of the first fire of the gas turbines in Siemens’ Megaproject in Egypt, attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, he announced the details of the strategic alliance agreement between Siemens, GIZ and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support and develop occupational training in Egypt.
Talking on the phone last week, Emad Ghaly- CEO of Siemens in Egypt was able to give me some more background information on this exciting endeavor. “We are seeking to decrease unemployment and increase employment,” he says. “We will bridge the skill gap that the Egyptian vocational education now has by establishing a new training center in Ain Sokhna and developing an already existing one in El Amreya owned by the government.” Thus, a whole career path is being created for the next generation of skilled workers and technicians in Egypt. “The students will be trained in advanced skills such as operation, maintenance, and repair in the energy sector as well as other industrial sectors,” explains Ghaly. “The training center will support the long-term growth of Egypt and aligns with the country’s strategic vision 2030.
Integrated approach needed to connect industry and education
In the country of 104 million inhabitants the human resources already exist. 2.5 million students are currently enrolled in technical secondary high schools in Egypt. “But the vocational education system has suffered for years from mismanagement and misallocation of resources – and, more importantly, the lack of an integrated approach,” explains Dr. Amr Abdelkawy the managing director of NASS Academy, which is one of the successful models for the vocational institutions in Egypt and partnered with Siemens on other education projects.
“There was a lack of a singular vision to connect the country’s human resource needs with its supply tools,” he tells me. “Siemens is contributing by pushing towards an integrated approach that brings the industries as active participants to the table instead of being just passive recipients like they are now.” After all, as employers the industrial companies are also beneficiaries of vocational education. He affirms: “Siemens has understood the responsibility of integrating within the community and building relationships at different levels.”
Practical training simulating real-life conditions
The Training Center will be the first fully-fledged energy training center in Egypt. Over the next four years, Siemens and BMZ will train 5,500 engineers and technicians. The Ain Sokhna Center will open its doors in late 2018, hosted at the service center in in the area of Suez Canal Economic Zone, where Siemens’ turbines and power equipment are maintained. This will allow the students to stimulate real life conditions in their training by using Siemens’ advanced equipment and state-of-art technology.
“Siemens will also develop and strengthen a public vocational training institute in the El Amreya area that will prepare suitable candidates who could be able to join such a highly developed training center and gain the qualifications needed to join the expanding industrial sector,” says Thomas Leubner, Global HR Learning Manager, Siemens AG. With this project, Siemens is truly championing the idea of dual education in Egypt – a vocational high school that could prepare candidates with hands-on technical education at an early age at high school level. This dual education system will allow the students to spend half of their education in the classroom and the other half in industry-specific, on-the-job training, and improve their employability.
Author Manu Abdo is an Egyptian journalist.