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Saudi trains 10,000 for automobile industry

By VM Sathish

Saudi Arabia has trained 10,000 automobile technicians and experts in cooperation with the Japanese automobile company Isuzu and the University of Japan for the budding domestic automobile manufacturing plants as part of an Automotive Cluster in the Kingdom, a senior Modon official said.

Modon is the Saudi government-owned entity promoting industrial infrastructure in the Kingdom.

It said more Saudis will be trained to work in the automobile plants.

Saudi Arabia is facing problem of youth unemployment and depends on blue-collar expatriate workers for many technical jobs. Currently a campaign is going on to localise some of the jobs through Nitaqat scheme.

“The Japanese automobile company y Isuzu has trained 10,000 Saudi youth in automobile field and they will be working at various automobile plants and  related industries which are expected to come up in Saudi Arabia as part of the Industrial Cluster Development plan of the Government in Yanbu Industrial City,” a Modon official said.

With the help of the Ministry of Higher Education, about 10,000 Saudi youngsters have completed automobile courses from the Japanese University.  It has been a major project to train Saudi automobile technicians who will find decent jobs in new automobile plants and accessory units, the official said, without naming the University of Japan.

Saudi Arabia is developing an Automobile Cluster in the Yanbu Industrial City to build a domestic automobile industry -- vehicle assembling, manufacturing, spare parts manufacturing and various automobile related services.

Saudi Arabia, currently the largest importer of vehicles and automobile spare parts in the Middle East, accounts for 40 per cent of all vehicle sales in the region and the sales figure is projected to reach one million vehicles per year by 2020.

As part of the overall industrialization of the country, Saudi Arabia is trying to develop an indigenous automobile sector, with the first mini truck from a new factory of Japanese company, Isuzu, was rolled out in December 2012.

“The plan is to capture $45.4 billion automotive import market in the Middle East North Africa region. The programme is to tap part of the world automotive market which is $2.7 trillion per year by initiating and developing a fully competitive local automobile industry,” the official said quoting  the Industrial Cluster Report of the National Industrial Cluster Development Programme.

Saudi Arabia is also developing special petrochemical and aluminum factories producing automobile grade materials. Earlier reports said the King Saudi University plans to invest $500 million to build the kingdoms first car in collaboration with a Korean company.

“We will create a very substantial number of high quality job opportunities for young Saudis coming out of specialized schools and technical universities,” he said. “Many industrial units in Sharjah will employ Saudi youth and they will not face any problems, as long as they are following the Nitaqat system,” he added.