7 April 2009 - Saudi Arabian women could benefit from New Zealand's technical educational expertise under the terms of an agreement signed by New Zealand consulting company PINZ (Polytechnics International New Zealand).
PINZ signed a Cooperation Arrangement with Saudi Arabia's Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) that paves the way for the New Zealand company to establish and operate a technical training institution in Saudi Arabia - likely to be its first international one dedicated to training women.
The agreement was signed recently by PINZ chief executive Hone McGregor and TVTC Governor Dr Ali Al-Ghafis in Wellington, and was witnessed by New Zealand Minister of Trade Tim Groser.
PINZ chief executive Hone McGregor said the deal could be worth up to $150 million to New Zealand over the next five years and follows a similar one struck by PINZ to develop a polytechnic in Bahrain.
Mr McGregor said Saudi Arabia expected to increase the number of technical training institutes by more than 230 during the next decade to ensure its young people had the necessary skills to contribute to a modern economy which is currently dominated by expatriate workers.
"The agreement recognises that New Zealand's technical education system is applicable to Saudi Arabia. As well as developing the technical training institute in Saudi Arabia, it allows PINZ to roll out a range of other activities for TVTC.
"These include an English language and degree scholarship programme for TVTC staff to pursue applied degrees with polytechnic providers in New Zealand - this alone is expected to result in $12 million of tuition fees coming into New Zealand," Mr McGregor said.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has helped PINZ and other companies identify education and consultancy opportunities in the Middle East as part of its strategy to seek out long-term commercial opportunities and to help them develop solutions that meet the needs of international companies and governments.
NZTE Operations Manager for Services Steve Jones said the Saudi Arabian agreement was another acknowledgement that New Zealand's education consultancy services were highly regarded internationally.
He said PINZ was one of 10 companies taking part in activities next month being coordinated by NZTE to raise the profile of New Zealand's consulting capabilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.
"This agreement between PINZ and TVTC provides evidence that New Zealand's education and consultancy expertise is in demand internationally and helps NZTE to raise awareness about our capabilities further," Mr Jones said.
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