YLAB Academy 8 puts brightest to the test
The YLAB Academy provides a unique venue for young, motivated employees to be challenged and stretched beyond their limits and comfort zones.
Since its establishment 10 years ago, the Young Leaders Advisory Board (YLAB) has set out on a journey to empower, engage, and inspire the youth of Aramco, and to serve as a bridge between Generations Y and Z in the company and senior management.
YLAB recognizes the criticality of continuously engaging the youth of Aramco on corporate, industry, and global challenges. Through both physical and virtual engagements, this autonomous body supports the youth in becoming an active resource toward solving these issues, and providing innovative ideas and solutions that drive Aramco’s strategic intent.
Through its deep dives into some of the company’s biggest challenges, advisory services and various initiatives, YLAB tackles these challenges, with the goal of supporting the company in maintaining its competitive edge in the industry and its position as the best place to work.
A place to test the best
The YLAB Academy provides a unique venue for young, motivated employees to be challenged and stretched beyond their limits and comfort zones. Every 18 months, hundreds of young employees under the age of 35 apply for YLAB. With several filtrations and stages of assessment, only 60 people out of hundreds of applicants make it to the Academy, which is considered the final stage of a rigorous, comprehensive selection process.
The Academy is a multi-day event that can most closely be compared to a “boot camp.”
The event also hosted Aramco executive speakers, including Wail A. Al Jaafari, executive director of Southern Area Gas Operations, and Thomas W. Palmer, manager of the Executive Development and Compensation Department.
The highlight for the finalists was an engagement with Amin Nasser, president and CEO.
In his opening remarks, Al Jaafari welcomed the Academy hopefuls and highlighted the importance of YLAB to the company and the Kingdom.
Congratulations, you have been through the application and the interview process and that is a milestone in itself — this is an achievement in itself to be selected from 1,000 applicants.
— Wail A. Al Jaafari
Al Jaafari added that the assessment process was highly structured and would give all candidates the opportunity to add value to their respective organizations.
“This is serious, this is so intensive, it is an assessment center that will assess your capabilities and give you the opportunity to add beyond your organizations,” he said. “It is an intensive experience that will allow you to develop yourself and to work in teams, which is very, very important.”
The heart of the Academy lies in its challenges, where participants are divided into teams and assigned tasks, at random, that speak to various corporatewide challenges.
This time around, the YLAB 8 Academy challenges focused on areas of relevance to the industry, and to the world. Candidates were encouraged to come up with solutions on some of the company’s biggest management matters.
This included sustainability, cost optimization, and strategies on the company’s various businesses.
Waleed A. Al Mulhim, executive director of Petroleum Engineering and Development and YLAB Academy 8 judging panelist, said: “The YLAB Academy challenges covered a wide range of the company’s most critical focus areas. The level of depth and critical thinking that the participants displayed is very impressive, given the complexity and technicality of the challenges.”
The YLAB Academy is the ultimate learning experience for young employees who are willing to put 110% into attempting to develop solutions for some of the company’s biggest challenges. Moreover, it gives them a glimpse into the types of discussions that happen at the highest levels of management in the company, thereby preparing them for the future and getting them into a growth mindset.
Faisal N. Nughaimish, chief drilling engineer and YLAB Academy 8 judging panelist and YLAB 1 alumnus, explained: “To succeed as a young leader in the company, you must acquire a wide range of skills. The YLAB Academy, and ultimately, the YLAB experience, puts those skills to the test. Resilience, critical thinking, and the ability to effectively work in a team are among those skills.”
YLAB Academy 8 encourages its participants to develop solutions on some of the company’s biggest management matters, including sustainability, cost optimization, and knowledge management.