ABQAIQ, Saudi Arabia – The Saudi Arabia Drilling Academy (SADA) has opened in Abqaiq.
This is a new venture, supported and funded by 34 drilling contractors, with Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Arabian Technical Vocational Training Center providing logistics support.
The impetus for the academy came from Saudi Arabia’s need to train and develop young local talent, Aramco explained. SADA will help provide young Saudis with the skills required for the exploration, drilling and workover sector, with projections suggesting a need for more than 30,000 technicians by 2020.
Aramco’s Local Workforce Development Department has collaborated with all involved parties on the project.
In mid-2015 vice-president of Northern Area Oil Operations and chairman of the board of trustees of SADA, Dawood M. Al-Dawood, - then vp of Drilling and Workover (D&WO) - met with the executive directors of the 34 companies to persuade them to accept the idea for the project based on the following needs:
- Employment of the largest number of Saudi talents in the drilling and exploration industry
- Fostering social responsibility
- Reducing costs
- Increasing competitiveness.
Earlier that same year, D&WO had initiated the concept for the academy through a Kingdom-wide feasibility study. This concluded that over the next 20 years, around 90,000 Saudis will need to be trained to meet the industry’s growth plans for the Kingdom.
Training in the academy is an 18-month exercise, with much of the first year taken up by academic courses where students learn mathematics, English, and other subjects in the classroom. They then move on to training workshops on simulators and rigs.