Graduating Saudis with the Technical Skills to Build and Power the Kingdom
This has been the graduation season in Saudi Arabia, with these happy events generating big smiles of pride from parents and sighs of relief from students completing high school, university and technical programs in the Kingdom.
However, even as the International Monetary Fund has celebrated Saudi Arabia for increasing funding on education, it cautions that in order for this spending to translate into solid economic growth, “greater focus is needed on the quality of education to ensure skills are being developed that are sought by the private sector.”
There’s no question that those in the most recent graduation from the GE Technical Academy in Jubail are just the kind of students the IMF is encouraging. These young Saudis have completed an intensive training program focused on innovative solutions and technologies in the energy sector.
What’s more, the program, which has trained 250 students in three batches, has already placed a large number of graduates in GE’s various businesses across the Kingdom. This includes at the GE Manufacturing Technology Center (GEMTEC), which will manufacture Saudi Arabia’s first ‘Made in Saudi’ gas turbine in 2016. The success of the academy’s program is seen in the more than 70% of GEMTEC’s workforce that is comprised of Saudi nationals.
The 50,000-sqm advanced training facility is run in cooperation with the Technical & Vocational Training Center (TVTC) and is supported by the Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf). In all, more than 500 students are expected to receive skills training at the academy during a five-year period.
With a history spanning more than 80 years in the Kingdom, GE also offers promising career opportunities to graduating students at the GE Oil & Gas Manufacturing Facility in Dammam. Meanwhile, several Saudi graduates are receiving further training at GE’s advanced facilities in the United States.
Training programs such as these are part of GE’s broader $1 billion investment in Saudi Arabia, a key objective of which is to support Saudi skills and talent development, and to promote a culture of localized innovation in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is home to the largest GE workforce in the Middle East with over 1,600 employees driving the healthcare, transportation, power, oil and gas, water, and aviation businesses. More than 500 GE turbines currently generate over 50 percent of Saudi’s electricity, and the company’s advanced technology supports the production of 150 million liters clean water daily, delivered to the country’s most remote corners.