Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
A few years ago, many people in Al-Ahsa witnessed construction of huge buildings along Al-Ahsa Airport road. The name that was posted consisted of four letters. And those letters were: NITI. Many did not imagine how huge and how extensive was the work being done at the site. Until very recently, many people did not know what NITI was about. I saw it and now I ask Saudi Aramco, is that NITI? Al-Ahsa is known to be the largest oasis in the world but at the same time it sits on top of the largest oil field in the world, Alghawar. The oil field was discovered in 1948 and still producing millions of barrels a day. In Al-Ahsa, the young and old simply look at Saudi Aramco as their favorite employer. In other words, being an Aramco employee is considered not only an attractive job in terms of salaries but also an adventure and a way of life. The youth of Al-Ahsa are known for their talent in handicrafts. They learned these talents through working at farms. Al-Ahsa is home to one of the largest training institutes in the energy sector. Many people not only in Al-Ahsa but also around the Kingdom had always dreamed of such an institute. Al-Ahsa is apparently the most appropriate location for such an institute. Last Wednesday, the dream came true. Saudi Arabia now has a world-class industrial training facility. When Saudi Aramco first started to hold solid ground in Saudi Arabia and became the largest oil company in the world, it started with the most important step that not only helped Saudi Aramco and its operations but it also helped the Saudi youth achieve the best education, training and lifestyle. Saudi Aramco started to build human talent before the infrastructure. At the beginning of its operations it established many training facilities in more than one location. The trainees in these facilities were the most disciplined and dedicated. The young Saudis utilized their training to operate the most sophisticated industrial infrastructure and facilities. At the end of the day, the Kingdom as a whole saw massive build-up in many other industrial sectors such as electricity and petrochemicals. The Saudi job market was expanding and there was a great need for more trained young Saudis to fill the vacant jobs and millions of skilled workers were brought in from all over the world. A few years ago, Saudi Aramco donated a piece of land for the construction of the National Industrial Training Institute (NITI), which is a state-of-the-art institute. The facility is an independent, not-for-profit training institute. NITI was established after a strategic partnership between Saudi Aramco and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC). This mutual agreement will provide industrial training to high school graduates to qualify them to work in the oil, gas, petrochemical, energy and construction industries. Last Wednesday, I had the honor to attend the opening ceremony. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of people including top officials from Saudi Aramco and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation. The institute constitutes housing, classrooms, labs, recreation facilities, and a modern auditorium. The institute will take the meaning of training to new levels. The institute will offer programs that will provide both academic and job skills training. The courses and training can be as long as two years, which will include on-the-job training (OJT) at the sponsoring companies’ sites. This method will ensure that the graduates meet the job requirements. The institute sets very high standard of training and all participants are required to take a standardized aptitude and placement tests. Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. NITI: Taking Training To New Levels reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.