Deal signed to train, employ 15 Saudi women as desalination plant technicians

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A deal to train 15 Saudi women as desalination plant technicians has been signed with a multinational utility company.

The Rabigh-based Higher Institute for Water and Power Technologies inked the agreement with ENGIE on Thursday during a ceremony in Riyadh.

The two-year program will see participants receive theoretical and practical hands-on training in water desalination, power generation, maintenance, and operations.

On successful completion of the course, the women will be employed as full-time operations technicians at Yanbu 4 or Jubail 3B, ENGIE’s Saudi reverse osmosis desalination plants.

Tariq Al-Shamrani, executive managing director of the HIWPT, and Turki Al-Shehri, ENGIE’s chief executive officer in Saudi Arabia, penned the deal in the presence of Saudi Water Partnership Co. CEO Khaled Al-Qureshi.

Al-Qureshi said: “As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to build a bright, vibrant, and thriving economy, it is essential that our nation’s youth are provided with the right education, training, and opportunities to unlock their talent.”

Al-Shamrani said: “Female empowerment is instrumental to realizing our nation’s ambitions, and we are delighted to launch together with ENGIE a unique program targeted at fresh Saudi women graduates, which will equip them with the skills required for a career in the desalination industry.”

And Al-Shehri said: “The program further reinforces our commitment to achieving gender equality, supporting women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, and ensuring knowledge transfer to the local population.

“We are firmly committed to promoting greater female participation across the industry, and indeed STEM more generally, in line with the UN sustainable development goals of gender equality.”

Clean energy transition, Al-Shehri pointed out, was an opportunity to support the sustainable economic and social development of local communities, which were home to vital infrastructure.

“In the case of Saudi Arabia, this includes the many highly educated and skilled females graduating from universities across the country,” he added.

The ENGIE CEO noted that by providing training and jobs for Saudi women in reverse-osmosis processes at the firm’s desalination plants, the company hoped to open up new engineering opportunities for women in the energy industry, supporting long-term and sustainable employment opportunities.

He said: “We hope this encourages more doors to open across science and engineering for women, inspiring the following generations.”

As part of the program, participants must complete an introductory one-year foundational technical core training course spanning three trimesters at the HIWPT in Rabigh.

Throughout the phase, students will learn about scientific concepts and engineering principles. In the second phase, the trainees will be provided with vocational training at ENGIE’s Yanbu and Jubail reverse osmosis desalination plants.