CEO of SPIRE: Saudi Competencies to Meet Renewable Energy Company Needs

Eng. Majed Refae, the CEO of the Saudi Polytechnic Institute of Renewable Energy (SPIRE), said that work was underway with strategic partners to provide companies operating in renewable energy projects with skilled national cadres.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Refae noted that more than 7,800 jobs will be needed for energy projects in Saudi Arabia during the coming years, expecting the demand to grow with the announcement of new and investment plans.

SPIRE is a strategic partnership institute within a comprehensive system, which the Ministry of Energy considers an important tributary for providing human resources and qualifying young men and women to work in the oil, gas and energy sectors and companies, with the support of Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Energy.

The institute is located in Al-Jouf region in northern Saudi Arabia.

Refae said that the region was selected to be the headquarters of the institute, as it is situated within the global Sun Belt, which makes the solar radiation it receives one of the highest rates in the world.

Therefore, SPIRE was chosen to be near the first renewable energy projects in Saudi Arabia – the Sakaka solar power plant and Dumat al-Jandal for wind energy. This will allow the institute to introduce trainees to real work environments, he underlined.

Al-Jouf is also close to several other renewable energy projects in Qurayyat, Turaif, Hafr Al-Batin, and Tabuk, located in the north of the country.

Asked about the launching date, Refae said: “SPIRE is now in the final stages of training procedures; we expect to start operation at the end of March.”

As for the training programs, he pointed to a 12-month program targeting holders of diplomas from technical colleges, in which the focus is on specialization and skills needed by employers.

Another 24-month program is directed towards high school graduates, in which the trainees undergo an intensive program in the English language and preparatory materials, followed by a 4-month field training on the job site.

According to Refae, SPIRE is based on the principle of training with employment, which is one of the most important bases of work in the National Center for Strategic Partnerships. Therefore, all those who successfully pass the selection tests will be contracted by companies operating renewable energy projects in Saudi Arabia.

The CEO of SPIRE told Asharq Al-Awsat that the institute will seek to provide programs and specializations that meet the renewable energy sector in the areas of management, operation and maintenance.

This will be supported by creating accreditation programs that are tailored to the needs of companies operating in this promising sector, in accordance with the plan of the Ministry of Energy and Saudi Vision 2030.

Pointing that the institute capacity will reach 3,000 trainees, Refae added: “We are in the process of rehabilitating and equipping the facilities, and we plan to start training 250 cadres during the current year.”

“We are cooperating with local universities and institutes within the national system to provide curricula in accordance with the highest international standards,” he remarked.

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