Exclusive: Engineering Giant Bechtel Launches New Women’s Empowerment Program in Saudi Arabia

Global engineering and procurement giant Bechtel Corporation will launch a new pioneering program for women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia, set to be announced this month and rolled out this fall, SUSTG has learned.

Working with Al Khaleej Training and Education organization, the program aims to increase women’s participation in the country’s workforce through training and job placement of women with undergraduate degrees.

Abdulrahman Al-Ghabban, Country Manager, Bechtel Saudi Arabia with his counterpart at Al Khaleej Training and Development.

Abdulrahman Al-Ghabban, Country Manager, Bechtel Saudi Arabia with his counterpart Dr. Hatem AlDrayaan at Al Khaleej Training and Development.

“Bechtel’s partnership with Al Khaleej Training and Education is grounded in 75 years of our commitment to Saudi Arabia and its people,” said Abdulrahman Al-Ghabban, Bechtel’s country manager. “Together, we are supporting the country’s Vision 2030 goal to increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30%. The Bechtel team in Saudi Arabia is honored to be part of this visionary effort in the country that is such an important part of our company’s 120-year history.”

Al-Ghabban noted that this is not Bechtel’s first workforce enhancement program in the Kingdom. In 2017, the company began a partnership with Riyadh College of Technology to train and hire up to 75 students upon graduation.

The Women’s Empowerment program includes training courses in English language, information technology, and computer skills. The first group of candidates are expect to begin training in this fall. Bechtel plans to hire from the group once they are done with the program, and work with the trainees to find employment opportunity with local companies.

The first group of trainees will commence their program in Q3 2018 as the first pilot for the program in Riyadh. The program will then be repeated in cities across Saudi Arabia.

Bechtel has worked in Saudi Arabia for 75 years developing landmark projects that have transformed the country. Major infrastructure, industrial, and energy projects include development and expansion of Jubail and Ras Al Khair Industrial cities working with the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu, King Khalid and King Fahd international airports in Riyadh
and Dammam, and overseeing a major phosphate complex and industrial city for the Saudi Arabia Mining Company, Ma’aden. Bechtel is currently working on lines 1 and 2 of the six-line Riyadh Metro and providing program management services at Jubail Industrial City, the largest civil engineering project in the world.

Bechtel also stands at a key intersection of the Kingdom’s infrastructure growth. Last year, Saudi Arabia appointed the U.S.-based Bechtel to run a new oversight office tasked with reducing inefficiencies and trimming costs on state infrastructure projects, called the National Project Management Organization (NPMO), known in Arabic as Mashroat.

Bechtel’s initiative to train and hire women specifically is both in line with Vision 2030’s economic and social reform goals, and timely as women have recently been allowed to drive and are embracing newfound freedoms and opportunities in Saudi Arabia. That decision could add as much as $90 billion to Saudi Arabia’s economic output by 2030, with the benefits extending beyond that date, according to Bloomberg Economics.