Saudi Arabian Drilling Academy holds first graduation ceremony

The Saudi Arabian Drilling Academy (SADA) today held its first graduation for a cohort of 132 students representing 34 drilling and services companies, in response to the oil and gas industry’s rising need for thousands of skilled exploration, drilling and workover talent, and in alignment with Saudi Vision 2030 workforce development aims.

The graduation ceremony was attended by His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Al-Fahaid, Governor of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), Amin Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Saudi Aramco’s Senior Vice President for Upstream, Dawood Al-Dawood, Saudi Aramco’s Vice President for Northern Area Oil Operations and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Saudi Arabian Drilling Academy (SADA).

“The concept behind SADA is unprecedented, where companies that operate in a competitive market agree to cooperate in a win-win approach and join forces for the good of the industry. What is happening here is a true sense of responsibility and solidarity among industry players. It is a start, and will inspire others.” Amin Nasser said. “I would like to congratulate the cohort and wish them a successful career, and thank all of the stakeholders who made such collaboration possible.” Nasser added.

“We are proud of the fruitful relationship with the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) and the successful collaboration of the 34 companies funding the academy.” Said Al-Qahtani. “The academy will play a great role in closing the talent gap and equipping Saudi students with the skills and capabilities required by drilling industry, and will complement the efforts to increase the share of local content in the energy-related products and services, as we will spend more than half a trillion Saudi Riyals on drilling activities over the next decade, in compliance with the goals and objectives of the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030.” he added.

“I would like to thank all of SADA stakeholders for their participation and dedication to this remarkable establishment and the 34 companies that agreed to pool their resources under one roof in a unique undertaking.” Said Al-Dawood. “The academy presents a unique model where different companies join efforts collectively to create a unified and centralized training and development facility that serves and meets the requirement of the market as a whole. The academy fosters Saudization in the drilling industry and will create a localized pool of talents complemented by the creation of new job opportunities for Saudis, as outlined by Saudi Vision 2030. The academy is part of the corporate social responsibility efforts of the drilling companies in Saudi Arabia.” Al-Dawood added.

The academy is funded by 34 private drilling companies and provided with logistical support by Saudi Aramco and the Technical Vocational Training Center in Abqaiq. Under the current scope of training that began in September 2016, SADA’s comprehensive program ensures the job-readiness of workers ranging from rigman and junior services operator to skilled engineers, riggers and heavy equipment operators.

The initiative was proposed in 2014 to achieve the dual goal of generating knowledge-economy jobs that meet Saudi Aramco’s needs, and to create a more efficient training model that reduces costs and increases stakeholder competitiveness. It is estimated that nearly 90,000 Saudis must be trained over the next 20 years to support the industry’s growth plans.

The Academy’s training program covers 20 months, beginning with onboarding followed by a 14-week field orientation; a 50-week academic segment covering different levels of English, math and occupational safety and health concepts; drilling and well site operation fundaments for four weeks; and practical or general and specific experience for 14 weeks.


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