RIYADH — The KAUST Future Talent Conference attracted more than 500 participants from across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), including talent acquisition and human resources (HR) executives, as well as university researchers, faculty, staff and students.

KAUST created the conference in partnership with leading industry, consulting and government organizations to start a dialogue and provide valuable insights around how to best attract, develop and retain talent in the Kingdom.

The KAUST Future Talent Conference aims to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas to advance the Kingdom’s vision of developing a highly qualified and skilled workforce.

The two conference panels centered around two key challenges: upskilling talent for the future, and building a solid foundation for talent to succeed.

During the conference, Dr. Ahmed Al Yamani, CEO of Takamol, provided a keynote speech on the role of talent in the Kingdom, while Abdulrahman Tarabzoni discussed how startups and entrepreneurs are contributing to the broader talent ecosystem.

Dr. Najah Ashry, vice president of Strategic National Advancement and Associate to the President at KAUST, announced the launch of the KAUST Future Talent Consortium to facilitate a concerted effort among Saudi’s leading employers to strengthen and accelerate the growth of the Kingdom’s workforce.

The KAUST Future Talent Conference was hosted alongside the KAUST in-Kingdom Career Launch Fair, which drew more than 70 organizations from across Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Aramco, SABIC, STC, Neom, the Red Sea Development Company, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the Saudi Central Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Amazon, McKinsey and Accenture.

Over the course of the career fair, 800 job opportunities were presented to students, and more than 1,000 interviews were organized.

President Tony Chan commended KAUST’s initiative to develop the Kingdom’s employment sector: “Technological and scientific transformation taking place in the Kingdom promises to create thousands of new jobs in the near future.

“The forum gave us an opportunity to align with industries and find a common ground. We need to support companies to reskill and upskill, ensuring that people have the education, training and skills to meet the demands of their changing jobs today and are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, some of which might not exist yet.”

Commending the KAUST effort, Dr. Ashry said: “As we look to fulfill the Vision 2030 objective to develop human capital and ensure equal access to opportunities, we need to focus on skills that are needed now and will be needed in the future We are very proud to have had such a positive response to the event, which we view as a testimony to both the quality of our talent at KAUST and also the rapid growth of industries across the Kingdom.”

As a state-of-the-art scientific research and technology center, KAUST aims to fulfill the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 objectives by developing scientific knowledge and skills among youth and inspiring ingenuity among them as they help shape the future.

Other participants in the conference included Ahmed Boshnak, Partner & KSA Head at Bain; Samar Sayegh, Partner and KSA Academy Leader at PwC; Niam Sinno, Head of People and Change KSA at KPMG; Abdullah Saidan, KSA Partner at McKinsey; Kim Pringle, Director of Human Capacity Building at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy; and Mohammed Sangoora, Director of Organizational Effectiveness & Design.

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