May 18, 2020

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invests in skills to boost vocational education provision

Saudi Arabia
City & Guilds
skills
John O'Hanlon
2 min
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invests in skills to boost vocational education provision

The City & Guilds Group has signed a significant, multi-year contract with Saudi Skills Standards to provide assessment, platforms and staff training in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It forms part of a major modernisation of the Kingdom’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training system.

City & Guilds, a global leader in skills education, will provide a comprehensive, technology-led solution to support the system overall and build self-efficiency in the Kingdom’s vocational education assessment and quality assurance.  

It forms part of the Kingdom’s long-standing commitment to developing a skilled workforce and improving the employment prospects of thousands of young Saudis. It aims to increase participation in vocational education from 10% to 40% - equivalent to 400,000 students by 2023. 

The training will be delivered through the Kingdom’s Colleges of Excellence, 10 of which were launched in 2013. A further 27 Colleges will be opened in September this year.

As part of the contract, City & Guilds will supply a number of different test items and products to improve the efficiency, quality and effectiveness of the vocational education system as a whole.

Speaking about the agreement, Mike Dawe, Director of International for the City & Guilds Group said:

‘Through this partnership, City & Guilds will be helping thousands of people develop skills that the employers in the Middle East need. The speed that Saudi Skills Standards is operating at is incredibly impressive. It’s encouraging to see so much commitment from the Saudi government to helping young Saudis develop their skills so they can contribute to the economy.’

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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