Tamkeen has signed a $1.2m contract with Ernst and Young to train 130 Bahraini graduates in Islamic finance and business accounting, the labour fund’s CEO said on Monday.
Bahrain’s emergence as a banking hub in the region has created a growing need for professionals qualified in Islamic financial work, Tamkeen said.
A recent survey conducted by the firm found that more than 1,340 banking and investment specialists are needed to fill vacancies in the financial sector.
“One of the major challenges facing Islamic finance was the availability of a trained national workforce,” said Deen Jayah, the director of Ernst & Young's Business Community Training Center.
The Bahraini government plans to increase the number of nationals working in the private sector by 185,000 people over the next five years, with at least 35,000 locals to be trained in post secondary graduate and doctoral programmes to replace qualified expats.
Abdulellah Ebrahim Al Qassimi, chief executive of Tamkeen, said: “There are even greater opportunities in the Islamic finance area and we were keen to tap this arena of career growth for Bahrainis."
Ernst & Young is the only approved training provider for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA-UK) programmes in Bahrain.
As part of a new initiative by the CIMA, graduates will study and sit exams for the Certificate in Business Accounting or the Certificate in Islamic Finance, over a one year period. Students will also be trained to work in private banks at the same time, Jayah said.
Students will be separated into three batches, with training provided by professionals at the Ernst & Young's Business Community Training Center. Applicants will be selected through a competitive exams, interviews and group discussions.
Al Qassimi added that the scheme intends to empower Bahrainis by giving them opportunities to stand out as employees of choice, who can power the growth of the nation.