National HRD in Oman: a Stakeholder Perspective on the Implementation of the National Training Programme

International Journal of HRD Practice, Policy and Research 2017, Vol 2 No 2: 33-47
doi: 10.22324/ijhrdppr.2.114

Ali Al-Harthy, Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman
Aileen Lawless, Liverpool Business School, LJMU
Yusra Mouzughi, Muscat University, Sultanate of Oman

This paper is set within the context of Oman, where National Human Resource Development (NHRD) has been utilized to develop the knowledge and skills of the indigenous population, create job opportunities for a greater number of job seekers and reduce the nation’s dependency on expatriate labour (Omanization). The National Training Programme (NTP) is the key initiative that aims to achieve Omanization and which provides the context for this paper. The NTP is overseen by the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) and involves a tripartite agreement between Trainees, Training Providers, and Employers. This “training mingled with employment” commenced in 2003 and has provided training for more than 36,000 individuals, in areas as diverse as commerce, industry, and craftwork. However, despite these encouraging figures, produced by the Ministry, there is a lack of empirical research that surfaces the voices of the other stakeholders involved in the NTP policy implementation. This paper addresses this void and illustrates how the key stakeholder groups: the Ministry of Manpower, Training Providers, Employers, and Trainees viewed the implementation of the NTP policy. In doing so, we highlight the complexities of the relationships involved and illuminate an emerging ‘blame culture’, which, if left unacknowledged, will hinder the implementation of the NTP, and impact negatively on Omanization. We conclude with implications for practice and argue that, in order to enhance the future implementation and success of the NTP, on-going participatory action research is required that includes all stakeholder groups, if the challenges of this emerging ‘blame culture’ are to be understood fully.

Key Words: national HRD, policy implementation, stakeholders, insider research.