KAUST, SIDF to partner in upskilling Saudi industrial workforce

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King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) announced on Monday the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) to providing training to SIDF members via two programs: the KAUST SME Maharat and the KAUST Academy.

The partnership aims to upskill the local workforce, help create new job opportunities for Saudi youth, and open avenues to new labor markets, according to a report in Saudi Gazette.

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Offering further training that supports the industrial sector, the agreement will also advance development, increase exports, diversify income sources, and expand production in Saudi Arabia, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.

The industrial sector is growing rapidly in Saudi Arabia. This has created an urgent need to provide more training that can cultivate the skills of the local workforce. Additionally, due to shortages in certain areas in the industry, small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) also find themselves in need of further training. Human resource development initiatives can address the industrial employee skills gap.



By joining forces, KAUST and SIDF will focus on both developing and improving industrial performance, while also increasing productivity and efficiency. With a focus on upskilling the local industry, the two will develop and deliver workshops and training schemes as well as take advantage of shared utilization of facilities and capabilities towards this end. Ultimately, the goal will be to build innovation capacity for Saudi Arabia’s SMEs.

The partnership highlights two programs. The KAUST SME Maharat will focus on providing training from an SME perspective. Meanwhile the KAUST Academy will provide SIDF members training in Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a research perspective.

Importantly, local manufacturers will also be able to take advantage of KAUST’s expertise and the Saudi Advanced Manufacturing Hub (Saudi AMHUB) network and efforts hosted by SIDF and their collaboration when it comes to capacity building and education in areas of deep tech such as AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Transformation, Prototyping, and 3D printing.

Tony Chan , KAUST President, said, “If we take a hard look at the new National Industrial Strategy and its aim to increase the number of factories in the Kingdom to about 36,000 by 2035, it is easy to understand the need for an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ collaboration. This MOU will align KAUST talent and capacity with the National Industrial Strategy’s sector focus in areas such as renewables, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food.”

Dr. Ibrahim Saad AlMojel, SIDF CEO, stressed the importance of signing the MoU with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a member of the Saudi Advanced Manufacturing hub (AMHUB). Dr. Almojel added, “We are proud of this fruitful partnership with KAUST, in which we aim to improve the industrial sectors, share know-how, and develop young talents.”

When it comes to high and deep tech collaboration in Saudi Arabia, KAUST stands as a ready and capable partner. SIDF’s vast network of local manufacturers — as well as their kind and in-kind programs that support the adaptation of 4IR technologies — will benefit from KAUST’s many resources of knowledge, instruction, deep tech network, and practical application of cutting-edge technology.

Read more: Ceer to set up EV manufacturing site at King Abdullah Economic City

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