Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

The program is intended to broaden the horizons of Saudi students. (SPA/File)
Updated 20 February 2019

Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

  • High-quality education will make students ‘valuable assets’ in transformation of the region

JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for Al-Ula has launched the second phase of its overseas scholarship program, giving students the chance to study at universities in the US, UK, France and Australia. 

The program is intended to broaden the horizons of Saudi students, creating more rounded graduates with wider experiences of foreign cultures and practices.

The students will also learn the languages of their host countries, which will aid them in later life depending on what path they choose, and encouraging interaction and exchanges between the Al-Ula region and the rest of the world.

Rami Al-Sakran, capabilities development manager for the commission, said the Al-Ula scholarship program was one of four strands in a community development plan. 

“We have four different units, sector planning and business licensing so that covers economic development, with community engagement and human capability under the social development plan,” he told Arab News.

The second phase of the scholarship program will run for five years following the positive response to the first phase, which was launched last year. The second phase has been expanded to accommodate 300 students and is open to all genders.

Last September, 165 students were sent to the US, UK and France with Australia to focus on fields such as hospitality, tourism, agriculture, archaeology and heritage.

Many residents from the area had migrated to larger cities because of the lack of job opportunities, he said, so it was important to engage and employ locals first.

“We’ll flood the equation. We’ll see people coming in and our priority is the local community and to provide them with jobs. We want these jobs that we’ll create to be filled by the locals first.

“We’ve currently provided jobs, whether directly or indirectly, some of them temporary and others permanent. At Winter in Tantora, we have volunteers, ushers, drivers as this is seasonal but we’ve established a database and some jobs are permanent, whether they’re directly employed by our CEO or some contract.”

Al-Sakran said locals were key to the success of turning Al-Ula into a major tourist destination.

“Locals, locals, locals. Without the locals, we can’t succeed. We have a very transparent relationship, it’s a two-way street with them. We cooperate with them and communicate with them on every basis. We have a strong relationship with the governor of Al-Ula and we listen to the locals.

“Whether it was our social or economical development, as you can see Winter in Tantora has a major socio-economic impact on the area and ... the locals are working everywhere here and that’s what we want. It’s theirs. We’ll unveil it to the Kingdom ... that’s the idea, to make it a strong and significant destination for all.”

MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

Updated 25 March 2019

MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors. 

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.” 

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.