Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Finance wanted to grow from a training school to become the Kingdom’s industry body for banking and insurance qualifications.
The Institute of Finance is a department of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
The key focuses for the Institute of Finance were to lift skills levels across Saudi Arabia’s financial services sector, and create career pathways into and through the industry.
The Institute of Finance recognised that to achieve this, it needed to create a comprehensive national qualifications framework. This would involve a radical change – the Institute would have to transform from a training provider into Saudi Arabia’s standard setting body and qualifications provider for the banking and insurance sectors.
In 2014, the then newly appointed Director General of the Institute of Finance approached 20 organisations for expressions of interest in developing a qualifications and assessments framework to meet its needs. Skills International was one of these organisations, and after making the cut to the final four, was appointed to take on the project.
- Historically, the Institute of Finance had developed training programmes and courses to meet a range of needs as they arose. Taking a holistic approach to training development would be a new concept for many within the Institute of Finance.
- A number of cultural issues also needed to be managed. In particular, participants from the Institute of Finance were more used to working with a prescriptive approach. This contrasted with the consultative approach required, which involved working with subject matter specialists from the various sectors within the financial services industry.
Skills International and the Institute of Finance worked closely with industry representatives and through combining structured exercises and discussions, the two organisations produced a framework that included:
- Occupational standards validated by subject matter experts to ensure they captured the competence requirements within the Saudi financial services.
- Examinations – the Institute of Finance adopted Skills International’s assessment writing process. This involved subject matter experts developing questions against assessment judgements written by Skills International’s qualifications developers.
- The Institute of Finance being transformed into a standards setting body for the financial services sector. It is using training providers to deliver training to meet the occupational standards set, while maintaining quality and integrity through their assessment team based in Riyadh. Essentially, they are modelling Skills International’s industry training organisation structure in New Zealand.
- Successfully completed frameworks for the major financial services sectors, including retail and corporate banking and insurance. Work has also been completed on a number of smaller sectors including SME financing and organisational compliance.
- The Institute of Finance has brought training and education providers into the picture to develop new and improved training delivery. As a result, industry satisfaction with training has improved significantly.
- A range of assessments and qualifications starting at the foundation/entry level is now firmly established in the sector. These are delivered in a range of innovative ways and assessed online.
The sector is becoming increasingly professional with skills that capture world class practice, ensuring Saudi Arabia’s financial services professionals are equipped for success.