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Laboratory staff

Learning lessons from implementing tailor-made work-based learning solutions in Jordan

27 Sep 2023
People 1st International

Skills are a major driving force of growth due their impact on labour productivity. They are a fundamental solution to both the labour needs of industry and unemployment by qualifying the workforce through training.

Developing the skills required in a rapidly evolving labour market requires a link between training provision and labour market needs, as well as identification of competencies for the jobs of the future.

People 1st International recently collaborated the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and MedLabs – a leading company in Jordan specialising in laboratory medicine employing over 600 staff – to support the development of a a new in-house technical and vocational academy that encompasses these components.

The Academy by MedLabs is set to address high youth unemployment (approx. 65% in Jordan) by offering career paths in laboratory medicine. In addition, it will promote gender diversity, as whilst employment of women is low in Jordan, there are a high number of women employed by MedLabs (70%) and the Academy provides a further opportunity to attract women into the industry.

We provided support to the senior management team of The Academy by MedLabs across three main aims to enhance the organisation’s strategy and HR systems in the development of the tailor-made work-based learning solution that would support economic inclusion:

  • Increase staff retention, particularly of youth, with improved recruitment, development and performance management processes. This particularly relates to the recruitment of youth into the Academy which in turn, will lead to youth inclusion within the industry.
  • Equip the company with a workforce pipeline to support company growth via the introduction of advanced HR strategy and practices.
  • Increase the capacity and skills of the workforce to support Academy growth through providing continuous development and training opportunities.

Our collaboration with MedLabs and The Academy highlighted some important and useful lessons in the implementation of an Academy as a solution to work-based learning:

  • Having clear mission and vision statements together with a set of core values is essential for organisational alignment: Alongside supporting the senior management team with recruitment, retention and training strategies to meet business needs, the assistance we provided at a strategic level helped the Academy by MedLabs to establish their own mission, vision and values statements to set the strategic direction for the business. These statements were formally approved and are being actively followed and there are clearly defined measurable goals for excellence. Integrating the MedLabs Care Values into its operational framework for the Academy was essential for creating an alignment and consistent ethos between the two entities.
  • Competency frameworks and job descriptions that accurately reflect requirements are crucial in helping to meet future goals: To help outline the organisational structure for the Academy, we provided sample job descriptions for various academic roles and functions. These served as templates that clearly explained responsibilities, qualifications, and required skills for each role. By presenting these samples, the goal was to offer a tangible visualisation of the Academy’s team structure. This allowed MedLabs’ HR and senior management to assess the alignment of roles within the organisation. This exercise fostered clarity and transparency in understanding the hierarchy and ensured that the organisation’s structure would be both efficient and competitive.
  • Clear people policies and development pathways are needed to help attract and retain students and employees: Well-defined, clearly communicated career pathways can help attract individuals to engage in programmes to support entry into the industry and encourage employee retention, especially among diverse and underrepresented workers. We recommended a series of actionable steps for The Academy to create its own career maps, stressing the importance of internal collaboration and potential external partnerships to ensure pathways are aligned with industry trends. Our comprehensive review of MedLabs current people and academic policies and provisions of tailored sample policies aided the Academy in benchmarking against industry best practices. It also identified opportunities to strengthen areas such as ending employment, equality, diversity and inclusion and information security through the development of new policies.
  • Robust key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical for measuring impact and guiding progress: Measuring impact and setting targets for the Academy is a key priority. The development of a comprehensive two-year course delivery plan has helped to set targets for recruitment, retention, attendance and successful achievement within Academy curriculum. Key performance indicators (KPIs) have now been formulated to encompass the entire academy including set KPIs for each course and programme which will help align institutional goals with academic achievement.
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