Key high-level representatives from Saudi Aramco, the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC)/Colleges of Excellence (CoE) and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) recently attended the first implementation workshop in al-Khobar establishing the National Power Academy (NPA). In his opening remarks, Fuhaid Subai’i, director for Saudi Aramco Business Partners Saudization, emphasized the importance of the project to fulfill the need of a highly skilled Saudi workforce for the energy sector. Saleh Amri, manager of Power Systems Planning, also welcomed the initiative and affirmed the full support from Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems organization to this critical national level project. Earlier in 2014, the founding stakeholders — including Saudi Aramco, SEC, TVTC and KFUPM — conducted a feasibility study for the NPA. “We looked at the next 20 years in the Kingdom’s power sector workforce demand and supply, and we identified the gaps in the new and existing trades that will need to be filled,” said Farhan Noor, NPA Feasibility Study project manager. Ahmed Al-Essa, NPA project manager, facilitated the workshop and led the discussions between the stakeholders regarding the project road map and implementation strategy. He outlined each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities in the project implementation phase. “The NPA will be a world-class training institute located in the Eastern Province, providing new and emerging programs for the power sector including renewables, energy efficiency, a smart grid among others, real life labs and workshops, and an applied R&D center, and it will provide a strong multidisciplinary foundation to all the trainees in the academy,” said Al-Essa. The workshop shared some of the lessons learned on the ITQAN (Inspection Technology and Quality Assurance National Institute) and National Industrial Training Institute (NITI) projects, which are focused on the skilled trades within the high-end inspection and downstream sectors, respectively. The founding stakeholders agreed to form a joint team to fast-track the project implementation phase and have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to solidify their commitment to this national level project.