Centennial Announces to Give Up its Saudi Program

Centennial College has refuted all allegations against its controversial program in Saudi Arabia that drew harsh criticism for excluding women. The statement issued by the college announced that it will not be renewing an apprenticeship training contract in that country after it’s due to end on April 13.

The college unambiguously denied allegations that it barred women from the program. The statement issued by the college mentioned that “Centennial College did not — and would never — bar women from entering the program in Saudi Arabia. Training eligibility is determined solely by the employer, and not by the college. Students in the apprenticeship program are referred for training by their employers, a process that is identical to what occurs in apprenticeship programs in Ontario.” The statement tried to point out the fact that women in Saudi Arabia were forbidden to drive until recently as the reason for the shortage of women in that profession. It was added that “it is unlikely that there are any women in the automotive field in Saudi Arabia — ironically, the same situation the industry faced in Canada decades ago.”

Furthermore, the statement continued to say that “even now, the percentage of women in the automotive trades in Canada remains stubbornly low. Centennial is proud to serve a diverse student group that reflects its communities, and the college will continue to encourage, recruit and support women in the skilled trades.” Whereas on the other hand, Premier Kathleen Wynne has stressed that its unacceptable to her that two Ontario colleges are operating campuses in Saudi Arabia that don’t admit women students

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