8 APRIL 2018: It is the year 2030. Saudi Arabia’s public transport industry is flourishing, providing tens of thousands of jobs for Saudis who work on state-of-the-art urban metro systems and freight and passenger railway networks connecting people and cities across the Kingdom. Many are graduates of the esteemed Public Transport Institute (PTI) in Riyadh, whose targeted training schemes equip young engineers, operators and maintenance professionals with diverse skills the industry needs to function. The Riyadh Metro, the catalyst for the creation of a national public transport sector more than a decade previously, continues to transform the capital city, now a regional knowledge hub from which Saudi technocrats share experiences and best practices with their global peers.
For Fahad Alalshaikh and the ADA it is a dream scenario and, he insists, an achievable one. All roads may ultimately lead to Saudi National Vision 2030, but visions are already being turned into reality as the green shoots of a national public transport industry begin to emerge, driven by Saudi talent.
“At the ADA we try to ensure that the targets we set are achievable, and that includes job creation. Everything we plan, therefore, in terms of training and development, is in line with the Kingdom’s vision,” Alalshaikh explains.
The scale of the task at hand is, nevertheless, immense.
“We are not just building a Metro. We are building a public transport industry from scratch, from infrastructure to personnel and everything in between. So we need to make sure Saudi nationals get support and training and knowledge, because it will be Saudi nationals who will be the custodians of the Kingdom’s public transport industry in future,” says Alalshaikh.
This process is in full swing on the Riyadh Metro, with capacity building initiatives such as the Joint Technology Transfer Program (JTTP) - where ADA vision meets design-build (DB) contractor knowhow - establishing a solid talent base of Saudis working on the construction phase.
“The contractors understand the Kingdom’s need to enhance job opportunities for Saudi nationals. Through the JTTP we have an effective plan which is being delivered well. The ADA and the JTTP co-ordinate with local universities to ensure that whatever the ADA thinks the Metro network needs in terms of expertise, university output will reflect that.
“So for the first time the engineering schools are running railway-related courses, and for the first time we have graduates with tailored knowledge entering the talent pool.”Subscribe to continue reading...