Aramco partnership with Women’s Business Park driving women empowerment
Aramco’s support of the Women’s Business Park initiative has been a key driver for the professional development of the Saudi female workforce.
Aramco recently marked its fifth year in strategic partnership with the Women’s Business Park (WBP), the Kingdom’s first all-woman business and technology park, which is headquartered in Riyadh.
Since the inception of the initiative in 2016, Aramco has awarded over 1.2 million project hours to WBP. This has been a prime enabler for technically skilled Saudi women and has contributed to the recent overall surge of the Kingdom’s female labor force.
WBP’s principal service line has been engineering drafting through its As-Built Drafting Center. These efforts have resulted in the update or creation of over 500,000 engineering drawings, as well as the field verification of 1,500 onshore and offshore company facilities.
Abdulkarim A. Al-Ghamdi, Aramco’s vice president of Project Management, voiced fulfillment with the success of the collaboration. “The partnership between Aramco and the Women’s Business Park has not only provided essential technical support for the company’s capital projects, but it also promotes the noble cause of empowering our local female workforce. We look forward to continued collaboration on various engineering, project management, and technology endeavors, as well as expansion of this initiative into new frontiers.”
Professional development of Saudi women
Aramco’s support of the WBP initiative has been a key driver for the professional development of the Saudi female workforce. The WBP has served as an incubator for new Saudi female graduates to learn new technical skills, refine those skills in real-world project environments, and eventually develop project management and business development capabilities that can be transferred across the Kingdom. Since inception, the Center has trained approximately 100 new graduates annually, who in turn, boost the industrywide female talent pool with their new skills and project experience.
Abrar AlReshidi, a WBP project manager assigned to Aramco as-built projects, says the Drafting Center allows her and others to take advantage of opportunities to enrich knowledge and enhance skill sets. “My journey started three years ago as a drafter, I then advanced to Team lead, quality controller, and eventually to project manager for the Onshore Maintain Potential Projects Department as-built projects,” AlReshidi said.
Engineering drafting was conceived as a “seed” service line that would provide an anchor for WBP and from which other opportunities and new businesses would develop. WBP is currently pursuing new initiatives beyond engineering drafting in the areas of information technology and business process outsourcing.
WBP was launched through a strategic partnership between Aramco, the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, and Wipro Arabia Ltd. In line with Saudi Vision 2030, it strives to increase the engagement, empowerment, and representation of women in the Kingdom’s workforce. The objective of the WBP is to deliver cost-effective business services while providing sustained employment to Saudi women.
The 200,000-m2 campus, located in the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, offers a supportive work environment that will serve as a showcase for women’s empowerment in the region. Operational offices for WBP are currently open in the Riyadh and al-Khobar areas for services across the Kingdom.