Saudi Aramco came together with officials from six Saudi and international entities on Dec. 8 to take the first steps in establishing a National Power Academy (NPA). The academy is an ambitious initiative designed to help keep pace with the finest international training standards and provide both public and private sectors with efficient, specialized, and qualified Saudi graduates to work in a rapidly and steadily growing energy sector. Saudi Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the NPA with other founding stakeholders, including the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), General Electric (GE), and Siemens. The signing of the MoU was attended by representatives of the seven founding stakeholders, including: 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 GE 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. Saudi Aramco agreed with its fellow founding stakeholders to make the NPA a nonprofit, 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 specialized training programs for the Kingdom’s power sector in electrical/instrumentation and control, mechanical, renewables, nuclear, operations, and manufacturing disciplines. Three Streams The initial campus of the NPA will be based in the Eastern Province and will provide three unique and 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 specialized power sector trades.
- 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 programs for emerging sectors such as smart grid, energy efficiency, and renewables. It will 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 center. Saudi Aramco is working with the other founding stakeholders to help the NPA achieve a number of strategic objectives, including fulfilling the expanding workforce needs for the energy sector, reducing unemployment, contributing to the Kingdom’s economic growth, catalyzing 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) program 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% by 2021.