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Saudi bodies join forces to create energy academy

Steve Rogerson
January 5, 2016
Seven Saudi Arabian and international entities signed a memorandum of understanding last month to establish a National Power Academy (NPA), an initiative to help keep pace with international training standards and provide public and private sectors with efficient, specialised and qualified Saudi graduates to work in a rapidly and steadily growing energy sector.
The founding stakeholders are Saudi Aramco, the Technical & Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), General Electric and Siemens.
The stakeholders agreed to make the NPA a non-profit, legally independent entity operated and managed by a board of trustees, with a goal of graduating qualified Saudi candidates with the necessary skills to support the national energy sector.
The NPA will provide specialised training programmes for the Kingdom’s power sector in electrical instrumentation and control, mechanical, renewables, nuclear, operations, and manufacturing disciplines.
The initial campus of the NPA will be based in the Eastern Province and will provide three internationally accredited training streams:

  • The Core stream, for high school students, will offer diplomas in various power sector trades;
  • The Professional stream will offer diplomas for experienced professionals who are seeking to enhance their skill sets in more specialised power sector trades; and
  • The Short certification courses will cover a wide range of technical and management topics for all professionals working in the power industry.
The NPA will be the first of its kind in the region to offer innovative and up-to-date training programmes for emerging sectors such as smart grid, energy efficiency and renewables. It aims to offer an industry-led training model, world-class laboratories, real-life training facilities, a multidisciplinary training approach, innovative teaching methodologies, and an applied research and development centre.
Strategic objectives include fulfilling the expanding workforce needs for the energy sector, reducing unemployment, contributing to the Kingdom’s economic growth, catalysing the development of a flourishing knowledge-based economy, promoting the transition to an energy efficient national economy, and establishing a worldwide standard for excellence in training for the energy sector.
The signing of the MoU comes one week after the launching of Saudi Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) programme to increase local content in the supply chain, through which Saudi Aramco seeks to increase the percentage of locally manufactured energy-related goods and services to 70 per cent by 2021.
The signing of the MoU was attended by representatives of the seven founding stakeholders: Saleh A Al Amri, manager of Saudi Aramco’s power systems planning department; Abdulrahman M Al-Obayed, senior vice president of human resources at SEC; Abdullah Al-Abdulkarim, deputy governor for planning and development at SWCC; Arja Talakar, CEO of Siemens Saudi Arabia; Hisham Ali Al-Bahkali, president and CEO of General Electric Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; Sahl Abduljawad, vice rector for studies and applied research at KFUPM; and Abdulaziz Al-Amr, vice president of strategic partnerships for the Colleges of Excellence.