By Andy Sambidge
TQ Education and Training will operate vocational colleges in Makkah, Buraydah and Madinah
TQ Education and Training, a UK-based business that provides outsourced training solutions, has been awarded a five-year contract to develop and operate three vocational colleges in Saudi Arabia.
The Pearson unit will provide vocational skills and qualifications for more than 8,000 students as part of the deal at the colleges in Makkah, Buraydah and Madinah.
The contracts award was announced by Saudi Arabia's Colleges of Excellence, the newly established body for public-private partnerships for technical and vocational education and training in Saudi Arabia.
The colleges in Makkah and Buraydah are for male students and the Madinah college is for female students.
All three colleges will open in September and in total the Colleges of Excellence programme will see 10 new technical training colleges set up across the kingdom this year.
TQ said it will work closely with employers in Saudi Arabia to provide vocational training and qualifications for young Saudis.
"The programme will be a fundamental step in improving employment prospects for young people in Saudi Arabia, equipping them to be sought-after employees so that they can lead stable and rewarding careers," a company statement said.
Christopher Samler, executive chairman of TQ, said: "Working together in partnership with the Colleges of Excellence, the local community, employers, parents and the students, TQ and Pearson will be focused on delivering positive outcomes for our students and improving people's lives through training.
"Our aim is to offer young Saudis education and training that helps them compete for jobs successfully in the local labour market. We are committed to making a difference to young people's lives and futures in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
Dr Saleh A Alamr, CEO of the Colleges of Excellence, added: "We are delighted that TQ is one of the key providers to deliver vocational training to young Saudis in this first phase of the Colleges of Excellence programme of vocational training and education reform in Saudi Arabia."
TQ already delivers electrical, engineering and English language training to more than 1,500 students every year at three campuses of the Saudi Petroleum Services Polytechnic.
TQ also provides a wide range of technical and other vocational training to the UK's Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as well as numerous multinational companies in the oil and gas, rail, power generation and distribution industries.