Based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, PNU is the world’s largest female-only university. AECOM and the Princess Nourah University (PNU) have signed an agreement that enables both organizations to collaborate on activities such as teaching and learning, internships and graduate recruitment. The agreement is valid for four years and is said to outline the path for the progression of students onto AECOM’s internship and graduate programs.
The agreement aligns with Vision 2030 and supports the Kingdom’s goal to engage more women in the workplace and enable them to play a bigger role in the country’s economic growth, the statement from AECOM said.
According to AECOM, the agreement is the latest collaboration between the two firms. The consultancy says that over the past two years, it has held several joint workshops with PNU in a bid to share knowledge and explore areas of mutual interest, including interview coaching and job search support.
“We are fully aware of the benefits that greater collaboration between industry and academia can bring. An important element of our collaboration with PNU is sharing knowledge and expertise to foster innovation and improve our understanding of current and future challenges in the Kingdom. Our partnership with PNU will focus on training the next generation of professionals with the skills that the country needs to meet the objectives of Vision 2030,” said Mousa Mashraqi, HR Director at AECOM Arabia.
Over 10 PNU students are said to have already completed internships at AECOM’s offices, the firm notes that this provided them with practical industry experience and insights. Seven PNU graduates have advanced onto the graduate program to date, and AECOM says it will continue to promote opportunities for internships and graduate recruitment opportunities to PNUs undergraduate and graduate students.
PNU is keen to match AECOM’s business and the wider sector needs with academic skills, the statement said. The educational institution is said to be developing teaching and learning that is attractive to industry and tailored towards accreditations with professional bodies. PNU notes that this will remain a priority under the agreement.
“Over the last six months I’ve been exposed to numerous different projects and people and have applied the theory and soft skills I have learnt at university. Everyone has been very supportive of my professional development; I have a mentor and a clear development plan that will assist me in my goal to become a bid manager,” remarked Lena Alskran, an economics graduate from PNU that joined AECOM in December 2018 as a business development assistant.
The training agreement was signed by AECOM’s Mousa Mashraqi and PNU’s Dr. Nourah Almatrafi at a ceremony at PNU. Representatives from both organisations were in attendance.
“The training agreement with Princess Nourah University will leave a positive and long-term legacy in the Kingdom, equipping female professionals with the skills required to achieve Vision 2030,” comments Lara Poloni, chief executive, EMEA, AECOM.
Discussing the role the agreement with PNU plays in supporting AECOM’s growth plans in Saudi Arabia, Poloni states, “To resource our increasing backlog in Saudi Arabia we need to grow our headcount by 1,000 people in the next 12 months. Hiring young Saudi talent is a key part of our recruitment strategy. The ability to draw on the skills of a diverse range of people from a variety of different backgrounds is vital to our success as a business and the projects we deliver.”
Ian Laski, president and CEO of AECOM Arabia concludes, “The ability to include the diversified, young Saudi talent in our project teams aligns fully with our clients’ expectations. A key part of AECOM’s mission in the Kingdom is to support the growth and expansion of the professional Saudi participation in the delivery of the Vision 2030.”