Dr. Ibrahim al Weydan, doctor and lecturer at Princess Mona College, and Dr. Yassin al Qudah, professor at Irbid National University, endorsing Khawater's training program. (Images via Khawater)
In early 2014 when Omar Al-Harahsheh started the Khawater Center for Training, he knew he was developing a business which was unique to the Jordanian work culture.
“I wanted to offer a training center which emphasized new methods of training, and would build partnerships with government entities, academic institutions, and local communities,” said Al-Harahsheh, General Manager of Khawater.
Competition is high within the Jordanian private sector though, claims Al-Harahsheh, especially among training centers that often have the backing of larger institutions offering multiple resources. According to the Jordan Times, public sector salaries in Jordan are higher on average than in the private sector, making it difficult for small, new businesses to survive. However, with Khawater’s wide range of training services offered, the company’s profit and network continue to increase.
Khawater offers training courses in management, finance, law/legal services, English and other languages, engineering, information technology, and community development. The company operates by contracting qualified, freelance trainers who focus on offering development services. For each training seminar or course offered, Khawater also provides a vocational diploma in coordination with Jordanian and international universities. Each service provided is accredited by the ministry of higher education as well.
Although the training center is a for-profit business, they also engage with local communities in order to initiate development projects. With such projects, the center believes it is important to listen to the needs of community members and deliver services that they are asking for, not what outsiders perceive to be necessary. Recently, they have focused on starting a community center in Mafraq, as well as courses for low income individuals who have no other venues to develop the skills they need to compete in the current job market.
There were smiles of satisfaction at the conclusion of a Khawater business training course.
A recent study conducted by Creative Associates International and the American Chamber for Commerce in Jordan reported that workforce challenges are often linked to underdeveloped vocational training programs and that there is a lack of soft skills among workers, particularly recent graduates. “Studies conducted on the labor market [in Jordan] emphasize a need to eliminate the mismatch between labor market skills and HR demands of local businesses….[such] challenges can be addressed by improving the quality of vocational training programs to strengthen the professionalism of Jordanian labor.”
Khawater recognizes this issue in Jordanian society and keeps that at the forefront of each session they provide. “In all of our training courses, our main goal is to offer services for people who need to develop themselves and establish more skills. We want to motivate them by giving them realistic tools to improve their condition, as well as benefit from others taking the course to create a collaborative learning environment,” explained Al-Harahsheh.
Khawater utilizes new methods of training which include more than just standard lectures and distributing materials; they emphasize interactive learning and media components to effectively train participants, regardless of where participants are from.
While the center is based in Amman, they have conducted training courses in other cities of Jordan, as well as outside the country including in Kuwait. They also work with foreign students and young professionals in Jordan, especially those from gulf countries. Doing so has allowed the business to grow and establish regional connections, while continuing to liaise with Jordanian ministries and universities.