Saudia and SAP To Combat Youth Unemployment

King Abdullah Economic City-Based Competency Center To Train Young Graduates In Vital IT and Business Skills; MOU Will Also Entail Sharing Industry Best Practice and Explore Additional Training and Development Options

RIYADH, Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaSaudia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SAP to collaborate on establishing a unique Competency Center at King Abdullah Economic City.

The joint initiative will endeavour to prepare Saudi graduates for the job market through teaching essential business, IT and leadership skills. Training will encompass everything from negotiation and communication to conflict management and “design thinking”. In addition, the initiative will offer SAP certifications on core business and industry solutions.

SAP, which is the world’s leading business software company, intends to provide expert guidance to the center’s IT hardware and software set up, as well as draw on its considerable global track-record of running successful capacity building programmes. This includes the recently launched Marawed initiative, which helps promising graduates across the MENA region gain SAP certifications through both virtual and hands-on project experience.

King Abdullah Economic City has been identified as the ideal locale for the Competency Center due to its cutting-edge facilities, strategic position between East and West, and peerless ability to interact with the region’s largest economy. It is predicted the city will be the size of Washington DC when finished in 2025. The US$100bn project will be particularly influential in boosting the Kingdom’s tourism, logistics, energy, transportation and manufacturing sectors. Saudia has already committed to moving 1000 employees to its Smart Technology Hub in King Abdullah Economic City.

Left to right: Sam Alkharrat, Managing Director, SAP MENA and Muhammad Ali Albakri, CIO and CFO, Saudia

“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 and Saudia’s push to empower young graduates comes at a valuable time for the Kingdom. 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 MOU will also entail SAP sharing aviation industry-specific best practice to help Saudia support its operations across the board.

In addition, 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.

“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.

Left to right: Sam Alkharrat, Managing Director, SAP MENA and Muhammad Ali Albakri, CIO and CFO, Saudia

“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 a global leader in capacity building and, together with Saudia, we can really make a difference in the job market. From supporting the Competency Center 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. We are proud to sign this important MOU, and look forward to strengthening our partnership with Saudia.

SAP has worked closely with Saudia since 2007 as a part of its transition from a government-owned entity to a series of privately owned companies.

Today, the Saudia comprises 13 individual companies all running on unified SAP platforms for maximum efficiency in key operational processes such as HR, finance, procurement, maintenance, fuel management, logistics, vendor management and CRM.

Saudia also managed to fully integrate all its Sales and Operations Systems with the SAP platform, thereby creating a seamless flow of information between departments, and achieving a highly efficient process flow.

The transition to SAP from over 180 legacy systems was a central component of an IT upgrade project that is believed to be among the most extensive of its kind in the world.