To meet Saudi Arabia’s increasing demand for highly trained, well qualified workers, international education provider, TQ Pearson has opened a brand new College in Buraydah, Al Qassim Province. The Saudi Railway Polytechnic (SRP) will give young Saudi men world class technical training, as well as English language skills, to help them become the country’s rail technicians of the future.
The SRP is the first ever railway polytechnic to be opened in Saudi Arabia. Working in partnership with the Saudi Railways Company (SAR), the College will be operated by TQ Pearson, a company which also administers several of the Kingdom’s Colleges of Excellence. SRP will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 students, between the ages of 19 and 23, at any one time. Students of the College, which are drawn from all over the country, will undergo a rigorous application process. The intensive selection procedure includes a two week period of interviews and placement assessment, ensuring the most suitable students are selected for enrolment.
Training at SRP will take three years to complete, covering general employability skills such as English language, as well as technical competencies in rail sector disciplines including rolling stock, railway infrastructure, signalling, telecommunications and railway operations. On the job training is given priority throughout the programme, helping to make SRP graduates ready to quickly contribute to their new workplaces upon graduation. The College will work closely with employers from the railway industry throughout Saudi Arabia to help graduates of SRP find secure and meaningful employment.
EngrAbdulaziz Al SogairSRP Director says, “The railway industry is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important industries. With so many businesses and individuals relying on the rail network, it has paramount importance for commerce, trade, government and personal activities. It is at the heart of the country’s economy, with many of our most profitable sectors relying on railways for transport. As such a large industry, railway employers are consistently seeking new recruits who have excellent technical knowledge, and strong transferable skills.Therefore, young people who have certified and recognised qualifications in this field will have good future work prospects available to them, and the opportunity to have a well-renumerated career in the Saudi Railways Company (SAR). SAR in partnership with TVTC provide a level of education that will ensure the very best trained and qualified technicians are in place to support the future rail industry of Saudi Arabia.”
The first cohort of students began at the College in April this year. This initial group of 60 students has been undertaking a pre-foundation English course in preparation for the foundation English course due to begin this September. It is expected that this cohort of students will be ready to embark on an intermediate to advanced English language course by September 2015.
So far, this first cohort has achieved great success, with 100 per cent attendance rates to date and high levels of educational attainment.
The emphasis on English language and employability skills will make SRP students highly sort after in the Kingdom’s competitive job market. Dominik Wellmann, who headed up the TQ Pearson team responsible for launching the programme says:
“Through a world-class faculty and quality educational resources, SRP will deliver technical and vocational skills specifically relevant to the rail industry. But the strength of SRP qualifications also lie in the emphasis SRP places on work readiness skills, such as English language. Regardless of the industry or sector, English language skills are a necessary part of survival in today’s business world. Those students who have strong English capabilities are more likely to gain rewarding employment, and more likely to progress through their careers at a faster rate. English language, like other 21st Century skills such as communication, team work and leadership, are becoming increasingly important in setting a candidate apart in a tight labour market. By equipping our students with these skills, we hope that they can achieve sustainable and rewarding employment in Saudi Arabia’s rail industry”.
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