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SAP, Saudia sign MoU to combat Saudi youth unemployment

SAP and Saudia announced on Wednesday that they had signed a MoU to set up a competency centre at King Abdullah Economic City in Makkah.

The idea is to prepare Saudi graduates for the job market through teaching essential business, IT and leadership skills, the two organisations said in a statement. Training will encompass everything from negotiation and communication to conflict management and “design thinking”, the statement said.

The centre will also offer SAP certifications on core business and industry solutions.

This announcement is extremely pertinent given the current state of Saudi Arabia‘s jobs market. According to government statistics, more than two-thirds of Saudis are under 30, and nearly three-quarters of all unemployed Saudis are in their 20s.

The country will no doubt be pleased, then, that the MoU will explore how both Saudia and the Kingdom can benefit from the potential creation of a Saudi Arabian arm of SAP’s Training and Development Institute.

SAP said that the private sector needs to share its insight with regional governments in order to address the problems facing youth unemployment.

“Youth holds the key for Saudi Arabia’s enduring success as a business hub and an innovator on the global stage,” said Sam Alkharrat, Managing Director, SAP MENA. “But to truly realise the immense potential of the Kingdom’s new graduates, the private sector needs to share both infrastructure and world-class insight.

SAP is playing a pivotal role in setting up the centre’s IT hardware and software. The vendor said that it will build on its track record of running successful capacity building programmes, such as the recently launched Marawed initiative, which helps promising graduates from the MENA region gain SAP certification through both virtual and hands-on project experience.

“Saudi Arabia needs to continue strengthening its ability to create sustainable high-tech jobs, and Saudia is determined to do everything it can to support this process,” said His Excellency Eng. Khalid Abdullah Almolhem, Director General, Saudia.

“By training the best and brightest in vital business and IT skills, we are laying the groundwork for jobs that can not only benefit individuals but also entire industries and the economy. As the world’s leading business software company, SAP is set to be an extremely powerful ally to realise our ambitions in this area.”

SAP has worked closely with Saudi Arabia since 2007 as part of the firm’s transition from a government-owned entity to a series of privately owned companies.

Alkharrat added, “SAP is a global leader in capacity building, and, together with Saudia, we can really make a difference in the job market. From supporting the competency centre to sharing aviation industry insight, this is a highly strategic union, and one that is intimately linked to the Kingdom’s most pressing business requirements.”

King Abdullah Economic City is predicted to be the size of Washington DC when it is finished in 2025. The $100 billion project will be influential in boosting the Kingdom’s tourism, logistics, energy, transportation and manufacturing sectors. Saudia has already committed to moving 1,000 employees to its Smart Technology Hub in the city.

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