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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Kuwait to launch government training programme for ex-convicts

The Ministry of Interior will work with private sector employers during the hiring process

Kuwait's Liberation Tower is seen in Kuwait City. Jon Gambrell / AP
Kuwait's Liberation Tower is seen in Kuwait City. Jon Gambrell / AP

Kuwait will provide free workplace training to ex-convicts to increase their chances of employment through an initiative established by the Ministry of Interior.

An official from the Manpower and Government Restructuring Programme in Kuwait told local media that an educational institute is in the works and that the organisation is teaming up with private sector businesses for the potential hires.

Kuwait has been going through a renationalisation programme in its workforce, replacing 44,000 expatriate employees whose government jobs are earmarked for termination this year, and replacing them with nationals instead.

The country, like many in the GCC, struggles to encourage nationals from choosing private sector jobs over the cradle-to-grave employment benefits of careers in government. In Kuwait more than 85 per cent of its citizens work in the public sector.

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The Director General of Kuwait's Workforce Integration Authority, Fawzi Al Mujdali, told the Al Jarida newspaper the training scheme was part of a broader government programme to reintegrate those recently released from prison into the workforce.

It will put forth names of prisoners recently released, or on the cusp of release, every six months for training. The ministry of interior will then monitor the ex-convict’s record while working with private sector companies to maintain their employment.

Kuwait has subsidised local private sector employees' salaries with a government stipend to further encourage nationals away from government jobs.

The country, as part of its constitution, guarantees locals a government job and early retirement. However, recent reports have found that government sector employees’ rank significantly lower in productivity as opposed to their private sector counterparts.

That coupled with an ageing bureaucracy and a system rife with corruption has led the current parliament to take measures to modernise government employment.

The Manpower and Restructuring Programme recently announced that it would provide 17,000 jobs for Kuwaitis in the private sector this year.

Its main purpose is to reduce the unemployment rate in Kuwait.