“Rajaa Moumena paves the way for women in Saudi Arabia with a pioneering institute.”
Change is constant. If you are not open to change, you will never be able to embrace the world around you, and life will pass you by. Sometimes this means making bold choices, and sometimes it means taking small steps toward your goals. It’s all about finding the right balance between being comfortable with who you are and finding ways to grow and improve yourself.
Rajaa Moumena, a true pioneer, the Founder and President of the Future Institute of Higher Education and Training, is driven by her unwavering belief in progress and opportunity for everyone. Through her vision, she founded the Future Institute of Higher Education and Training in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – a pioneering training center for women at a time when technology and women’s roles were rapidly evolving.
Today, the Future Institute is a powerful testament to Rajaa Moumena’s commitment to creating opportunities, driving positive change and offering technical education and training courses to people across the globe. The success of the institute is a direct result of her dedication to empowering women and providing them with the tools and resources they need to make a lasting impact on their future.
Rajaa Moumena is a trailblazer in the field of education and research. With her innovative vision for ramping up the Future Institute, she has ushered in a new era of progress and opportunity. As we embark on this groundbreaking journey with her, let us embrace the constant change that it brings and the limitless opportunities that come with it. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of those we serve and bring about a brighter, more prosperous future for all.
Remember, with change comes constant, and with constant comes opportunity. Let us go through the groundbreaking journey of Rajaa Moumena and her vision for upscaling the Future Institute.
Power of Self-discovery
Rajaa Moumena has had a passion for teaching since her early days as a lab technician at King Abdel Aziz University Hospital in Jeddah. After she majored in Microbiology at Manchester University in England, she returned to Saudi Arabia and started work as a Lab Technician in the Microbiology department in 1986. She worked as a senior clinical instructor and researcher in 1989 and, in 1995, was appointed Deputy Director of the Microbiology lab.
Realizing her passion for training, Rajaa left her job at the university and started her own business in 1991, founding the Future Institute of Higher Education and Training (originally named the Future Centre). Later, she started working on a manual written in simple language for technicians to understand, and with that, Rajaa Moumena set out to create an institute dedicated to providing the highest quality education and training possible, thus beginning her journey as an Entrepreneur and Educator.
Vision: Driven by Strong Belief in Change
Rajaa Moumena began the Future Center for Women with a mission to empower Saudi women through education.
Rajaa Moumena says, “I was driven by a strong belief in change, noticing the advancement of technology in the world around me, as well as seeing strong women in a large variety of roles in KSA; though they were counted, I knew that this was the future of KSA, and I took a commitment within myself to be part of this change.” In 2004, under Royal Decree from King Abdullah, this change came.
Since the Future Institute opened its doors, they have been at the forefront of changing perceptions about Saudi women and the kind of work they can do. The Future Center started out offering English language courses in Microsoft Office for women. The boom of personal computers gave ladies a chance to be part of the digital transformation unfolding in the world.
Journey of Exploration and its Key Drivers
The Institute is regarded as a pioneer in KSA’s higher education sector and offers young women the chance to develop themselves and take control of their future.
While talking about the quality of education, Rajaa says, “I have established links with distinguished colleges in the UK (Inchbald, Mercator, Bournemouth, and Poole, Pearson) to have both international and local certificates.” Rajaa thinks of ways she can provide her students with top-quality education, experience and exposure in their fields.
The students can study for two years in the Future Institute to earn a diploma, then transfer to universities that are accredited by the Future Institute to complete one or two years for a BA degree Heriot-Watt University – Dubai, Jeddah International College, and the University of Business and Technology in KSA.
Their core programs currently comprise fashion design, jewelry design, interior design, photography, graphic design, English language, management, and marketing.
The Future Institute began offering courses in fashion design in 2002. Earlier, they were the first fashion design school in the country. The courses were taught by highly specialized trainers and varied from the design of simple garments to finely embroidered ‘Haute Couture.’
Another popular program they offer is Jewelry Design. This is a one-year program. They have their own fully equipped workshop, which is one-of-a-kind for women in Saudi Arabia. The students are guided through every stage of the design and manufacturing processes to translate their ideas into workable, wearable designs, which are evaluated according to standard criteria based on creativity, originality and execution.
Future Institute’s three-year diploma in Architectural Interior Design equips students to work with software programmers such as CAD, Autodesk 3D Max, Sketch, and Autodesk AutoCAD and to explore the entire creative process of interior design, from the choice of materials and furnishings through to technology and even retailing.
Committed to Supporting Women and Driving them to Excellence
Over its 30-year history, the Future Institute has become so much more than an education facility, developing into a vital tool for helping women enter a wide range of the country’s workforce.
It pioneered courses for women in a range of areas, recognizing and forecasting areas in which women would soon be permitted to work. This foresight has enabled the Future Institute to grow into the market leader in educating women.
Seeking to offer clients quality support, Future Center became the Future Institute of Higher Education and Training, offering higher diplomas for both genders. Then they achieved “Pearson Assured Accreditation” because they believed in quality by ensuring that candidates were achieving the best possible education through its internationally recognized courses. It is these standards that have made the Future Institute one of the leading educational facilities in Saudi Arabia.
All Future Institute trainers and staff members are motivated educators, driven by seeing their students’ success in the marketplace. They create memorable courses that combine theory with practice, giving a mix of knowledge and skill that is significant for employment.
Over the coming years, the Future Institute will remain committed to supporting women and driving them to excellence through its provision of specialized training.
Grabbing the Speed without Compromising the Quality
Witnessing the market compromise on quality, Rajaa said, “We live in a world of instant gratification. Customers demand results faster than ever these days, and the businesses that learn to keep up are the ones that will continue to grow.” It will be critical for leaders to ensure that “Picking up the pace” does not result in a drop in quality. Businesses should adopt new strategies, tools, and services that streamline operations to reduce the burden on their staff and empower them in order to achieve a balance of speed and quality.
Furthermore, we should embrace continuing education as a means of nurturing the minds of both employees and full-time students, as well as assisting current employees in developing for possible future promotions. Businesses can remain competitive while maintaining quality in this manner.
Harness the Power of Adversity
“During the journey, I encountered three major challenges that were hard on the continuity of the Future Institute: the first was when I had to close down because I was offering courses that were not yet allowed to be validated by the Ministry of Education in 1997,” Rajaa said.
The second was in 2003 when the business was not doing well. Many institutes opened and jumped into the training sector, which was a winner, and our institute shrank.
Third, when COVID-19 struck the whole world, and we knew nothing about online training and how to continue online when physical training was impossible – Rajaa exclaimed.
Rajaa Moumena found the first challenge hard as she had to convince her senior officials in the Ministry of Education of her vision. She believed women would take part in many jobs from 2000 on. The jobs were limited to teachers, doctors, and business owners, who were not allowed to even attend in their offices. She was convinced that women would soon be in a variety of other jobs and businesses.
It did happen in 2004. Women were eventually seen in business and jobs such as marketing and sales, nursing, fashion design, and architecture in the country. She wanted to offer training in all these domains, but she was not allowed to do so in 1993. She took the challenge and was ready to face it.
In 2003, the business wasn’t doing well. The location they were in wasn’t good anymore, and the candidates stopped wanting to join. Many other attractive programmers were available, and this entitled her to invest more money. She had to leave the premises. However, she did not have the finances to support that move. So, she decided to get a loan. She did, and she chose a great location that will fulfill not only the training but will help achieve social accomplishments as well. It was on a campus of 1000 sq. m. That venue was a huge success until 2014 when they realized they needed to be more advanced and ahead of the big change coming to KSA. She decided to have a business partner who can support her plans and is also a believer in her passion. And it was her friend and a great supporter of training and education, Mrs. Nashwa Taher, a Saudi businesswoman with a leading position in the business community.
In 2019, COVID-19 struck the world, and in March 2020, KSA stopped all forms of physical education and moved everything online. This was their most difficult challenge because they had never studied or attempted any form of online education.
Again, she had to be quick and ready to face the change. She located a good trainer to teach them all how to use Zoom for educational purposes, and in five days, they were ready to go live. They then delivered to each trainer all of her tools, including tables and chairs, to allow them to teach comfortably from home. Currently, Future Institute offers all its programmers online. It was worth the challenge.
Competitive Ideas to Differentiate
Highlighting the importance of having competitive and innovative ideas for training in today’s market, Rajaa says, “Training, in particular, is a very tricky business in today’s world.” With the Internet being open to the whole world, don’t think of jumping in unless you have very unique and competitive ideas that can distinguish you. Also, they must be prepared to change their strategy at any time in order to adapt to changing circumstances.
Aim to Accelerate
After a long journey of training, her current vision for the future is to serve firms and equip the new generation with the necessary skills to maintain their jobs and ensure companies with a long employee retention rate and better achievements. By doing this, she aims to help companies build a strong foundation for success and create a more secure future for their employees.
Rewards and Achievements
CV Magazine Private Education and Development Awards
Middle East “Best Female Higher Education Facilitators 2019”
AI Publishing MEA Business Awards (MEA Markets 2021)
“Excellence in Education and Training Western Saudi Arabia”
Pearson Assured Programmes
“Centre Approval Certificate”