Saudi Aramco Promotes Greater Development of Engineering Talent

With massive construction projects either under way or in the planning stages throughout the Gulf region, the need for qualified engineers continues to grow. Saudi Aramco's vice president for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Project recently detailed the company's efforts in that regard to the Saudi Council of Engineers.

Ali A. Al-Ajmi told the council of Saudi Aramco's initiatives to develop Saudi engineers in a variety of disciplines, from continuing education and competency mapping to partnerships with Saudi universities.

He noted that Saudi Aramco has recognized professional development as a strategic priority and, as such, has dedicated resources to ensuring a world-class engineering work force that is capable of solving industry challenges.

These programs annually extend to 5,000 engineers in 13 engineering fields. Last year, Saudi Aramco received international accreditation for its engineering development division through the American Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).

Additionally, company engineers registered more than 26,000 e-learning course completions, including 1,500 e-learning sessions in project management.

Al-Ajmi told the industry professionals that the company's involvement extends beyond these in-house programs. "Saudi Aramco is keen to intensify cooperation with universities within the Kingdom for the development of engineering talent and the promotion of knowledge-sharing," he said.

For Saudi universities, this cooperation includes providing instruction for company engineering training courses. In 2008, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) conducted more than 60 engineering courses.

In addition, Saudi Aramco subject-matter experts provided KFUPM with 88 research topics for senior, master and doctoral projects, from which 22 topics were selected and completed. This semester, the company has provided KFUPM with 93 research topics.

To ensure that young professionals get the development help they need, Al-Ajmi said, the company uses competency maps, which provide a roadmap for an engineer's practical development through four competency levels: awareness, basic application, skilled application and mastery.

Saudi Aramco is committed to developing a larger work force of skilled engineers to help guide the Kingdom's growth and development. Al-Ajmi's presentation made clear that Saudi Aramco is a willing partner committed to engineering excellence that will benefit people across Saudi Arabia.