RIYADH: The Red Sea Development Co. has partnered with Saudi Human Resources Development Fund to provide vocational training for 1,000 nationals — its second batch of students — to encourage a thriving tourism industry in the region.
The partnership comes close on the heels of TRSDC’s first vocational training program, which granted diplomas to 500 Saudis across various fields such as hospitality management, culinary arts, airport services, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and renewable energy.
“Through this partnership, we will be creating a substantial pool of qualified professionals with the skills and resources needed to establish a new and successful tourism industry in the Kingdom,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
According to TRSDC Education Director Fadi Al-Aseri, the second vocational training program seeks to empower young Saudis by creating economic and educational opportunities to achieve their full potential.
The company received 31,435 applications, and only 1,106 were approved. As part of the selection process, the applicants had to clear an English placement test and a psychometric assessment.
“More than 600 students are currently enrolled in educational programs at both diploma and bachelor levels in priority fields for the Kingdom such as renewable energy and hospitality,” Al-Aseri told Arab News.
Besides Saudi Human Development Fund, TRSDC has also tied up with Higher Institute for Water & Power Technologies on the technical services front. Furthermore, it partnered with Bunyan for Hospitality Training Co for courses on luxury and hospitality. The company is also in partnership with the Saudi Academy for Civil Aviation and King Abdulaziz University Faculty of Tourism to skill students in airport services.
According to a company statement, of the 200 seats allocated for the technical services track, 100 percent were filled by men. In comparison, 170 seats in the hospitality track constituted 53 percent women and 47 percent men. The airport track filled 130 seats with 31 percent women and 69 percent men.
In Al-Aseri’s view, TRSDC has built an educational foundation by aligning with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 blueprint and opened doors for professionals to succeed in challenging fields. He further added that locals constitute over 50 percent of enrolled students.
“Localizing, retaining knowledge and fostering empowerment results in immediate social and economic benefits for local communities,” said Al-Aseri.
The company, in affiliation with the University of Prince Mugrin and EHL Business School, also offers scholarships for graduate students to study international hospitality management and provides job opportunities upon graduation.
“TRSDC’s educational programs are designed based on a solid needs analysis that identifies future project vacancies and requirements, as well as a market analysis,” added Al-Aseri.
As a result, the company works with several internal and external partners to ensure complete alignment, including leading private and public educational institutions, government entities and ministries, operators within the destination, and other sister giga projects, he said.
An excellent example is the company’s collaboration with KAUFT, aviation regulator SACA, and airport operator Daa International, where students prepare for hospitality and airport studies to fill the increasing demand for skilled professionals at the Red Sea Airport. “This program is the first of its kind,” Al-Aseri said.
In addition, the program supported establishing a new hospitality school in Bunyan, a training academy at King Abdullah Economic City where future hoteliers study the essentials of luxury hospitality. The program is conducted in a state-of-the-art facility and is accredited by École hôtelière de Lausanne.
The company’s alliance with HIWPT offers three distinct technical tracks in collaboration with ACWA Power, a strategic partner in powering the project with renewable energy only.
“We believe TRSDC’s vocational training students will serve as catalysts in running the groundbreaking luxury, regenerative tourism destination, putting Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map and helping it follow its ambitious plans to become a world leader,” Al-Aseri said.
The vocational training program at TRSDC continues to impact the lives of all involved, including students, staff, service providers, future guests, and local communities, as well as the Vision 2030 and the Kingdom as a whole, he concluded.