Forty-five Saudis from the Umluj and Al Wajh communities are preparing to begin work at the Red Sea Development Company after completing an intensive training program in landscaping.
Following a graduation ceremony at the Umluj campus of the University of Tabuk, the new hires will commence employment at the location’s million-square meter landscape nursery.
The facility will eventually provide over 15 million plants required to landscape the Red Sea Project, one of the world’s most ambitious tourism initiatives.
The project to train and employ members of the local community at the nursery was managed in collaboration with the non-governmental organisation Sakan, the Umluj Municipality and the University of Tabuk.
“This initiative is part of the Red Sea Development Company’s commitment to provide opportunities for those living in close proximity to our destination, to ensure that these communities are among the first to benefit from the development,” said John Pagano, chief executive, the Red Sea Development Company.
“It is exciting to see our new employees graduate with the skills they need to increase their income and build career paths within the Red Sea Project.”
The graduation ceremony, held at the Umluj campus of the University of Tabuk, was attended by the Red Sea Development Company representatives including Ahmed Ghazi Darwish, chief of staff.
“I am honoured to stand alongside a group of young people who have worked tirelessly to prove their determination and abilities, and who will now join our organisation to operate one of the key facilities at our ambitious project,” said Darwish.
“This pioneering program provided training that emphasised the core skills needed to excel in their work at the nursery, narrowing the skill gap between theoretical training and on-the-job experience.”
Each trainee received theoretical and on-site training at Umluj Municipality’s nursery.
Groundsmen completed a six-week course and the five supervisors completed a nine-week course for a total of 216 training hours.
The study schedule also comprised 144 hours of additional theoretical training at the Umluj campus, where trainees completed a conversational English course, including key words, terms and phrases related to agriculture, plant nursing and irrigation.
The program was launched following the award in April of a contract to a joint-venture between Saudi Arabia’s Nesma Trading Company and the UAE-based Professional Landscape Company to build the 100-hectare nursery.
Construction of the nursery is complete, and it is expected begin operations in early 2020.