The partnerships, with Umluj Municipality, the University of Tabuk, and Sakan, a local NGO, provide members of the communities of Umluj and Al Wajh with training and jobs with the Red Sea Development Company.
“This initiative is part of TRSDC’s commitment to align the Red Sea Project with all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said John Pagano, CEO of The Red Sea Development Company. “We feel passionately about our responsibility to create employment opportunities for Saudi citizens and to ensure that the communities surrounding the destination are among the first to benefit from the development.”
The Sakan program will initially provide jobs at the site’s one million square meter landscaping nursery. With the support of the Umluj Municipality, TRSDC and Sakan will provide training that will equip local residents with the skills they need to work at the nursery. Additional job opportunities will be created as the program develops.
“Our collaboration with Sakan and the Umluj Municipality will provide opportunities for Saudis from under-privileged families to develop new skills, increase their income and build career paths within The Red Sea Project,” said Pagano.
Sakan is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for family development, which supports Saudi families facing poverty. The organization helps families and communities build stable, sustainable lifestyles by providing training and meaningful employment. The NGO is funded through donations from different entities and private sector organisations across the Kingdom.
The program was open to local jobseekers who have not completed their education. Following a two-day interview process in September, accepted candidates will receive high-quality training at the Umluj campus of Tabuk University including a basic English course. They will also receive on-site training at the Umluj Municipality nursery.
“These initiatives engage the local community and provide opportunities for people who may not have completed further education,” said Ahmed Darwish, Chief of Staff, The Red Sea Development Company. “With the support of our partners, we will equip them with the skills they need to better provide for their families and advance their job prospects in the wider marketplace,”
Tabuk University will support the program by designing a training syllabus, producing supporting materials for the course and providing periodic reports and progress updates. The schedule of study for trainees will vary based on roles, with groundsmen completing a six-week course and supervisors completing a nine-week course. The university will arrange basic conversational English materials, to include key words, terms and phrases related to agriculture, plant nursing and irrigation.
In April this year TRSDC awarded a contract to build the nursery to a joint-venture between Saudi Arabia’s Nesma Trading Company and the UAE-based Professional Landscape Company. Covering more than one million square meters, the nursery will be one of the largest in the region. It will provide more than 15 million plants for landscaping the destination by 2030. The nursery will use precise irrigation controls and, eventually, treated waste-water to limit reliance on ground water supplies and help meet TRSDC’s sustainability objectives.