CSR youth development – Education is generally seen as a key aspect of all three main pillars of sustainable development (economy, environment and society), with many accepting that education is one of the main tools for increasing economic growth. Since the publication in 1987 of the UN report “Our Common Future” more commonly referred to as the Brundtland report, sustainable development has been at the forefront of international policy. International governments implementing the principles of sustainability through all aspects of society. Within the overall umbrella term of sustainable development lies corporate social responsibility (CSR). In essence CSR focuses on how business both public and private can adopt practices and methodologies that demonstrate a sense of responsibility towards the pillars of sustainable development.
Throughout the world CSR with education in mind is becoming more and more adopted into business strategies and non-more so than in Oman.
CSR youth development in Oman is highlighted by Bank Muscat a financial service provider and pioneer in CSR. It was the first Omani bank to establish a specific CSR department and its status as CSR leaders is highlighted in its concern and care towards various segments of society. It very much adopts the triple bottom line approach to core business. It was the first bank in the Middle East to sign the Equator Principles for responsible banking in 2007 and education through various CSR strategies occurs with large investment in schemes across Oman. Scholarship schemes have been set up so that young people from economically disadvantaged families can attend college and universities. Partnerships with local NGOs are being established to ensure that low income family students in Muscat are coached through career finding processes thereby allowing young people to find the right career for them. Investment is provided to women to specifically train as teachers.
These commitments highlight its sustainability credentials which are further emphasised through the words of its Chief Executive Abdul Razak Ali Issa
“Our focus is clear – creating a sustainable financial platform for society and business, thereby contributing to economic growth, while also generating returns for stakeholders”
CSR youth development in Oman is also addressing work force gaps. Business leaders and governments worldwide are seeing that there is a global shortfall in high and middle skilled workers. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 85 million of these workers. Almost 40% of employers say a lack of skills is the main reason for entry level vacancies. Skill development is therefore needing to be addressed globally, and business leaders in Oman are realising this.
Shell Development Oman sees CSR not as a philanthropic “add on” to their business practices, but rather as a catalyst. It understands that educating young people enhances the nature of their core business operations, therefore young Omanis are being provided by the company with the skills needed to enhance employment and self employment. Shell has enabled young Omanis to secure jobs by identifying relevant job opportunities in the marketplace, then working in collaboration with prospective employers to train suitable candidates for the jobs.
CSR youth development at Shell Oman is helping develop local entrepreneurs with their ability to contribute to the development of Oman being a key social investment focus. The company has contributed financially to the national SME fund to specifically support high-risk projects and the creation of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through this scheme over 15,000 sustainable jobs are anticipated to be created by supporting over 600 SMEs.
CSR youth development in Oman can be seen as an effective tool to encourage valuable and efficient investment. Effective education through CSR strategies like those shown above will help contribute to economic growth and reduce unemployment, thereby contributing to a sustainable future for Oman.
If you would like to read more about EMG-CSR’s training in CSR, please visit our CSR course and workshop in Cambridge, August 2015m specifically tailored for GCC and in Arabic page.