Aramco wins big at international awards ceremonies

Aramco Europe's Head of Career Development, Turki Ayed, receiving the Vocational and Academic Skills Training (VAST) award for Best L&D Initiative – Private Sector from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Two new awards from prestigious global learning & development and human resources organisations highlight Training & Development's (T&D) commitment to excellence and its contributions to Saudi Aramco's worldwide reputation.

T&D's Vocational and Academic Skills Training (VAST) programme won the award for Best L&D Initiative – Private Sector from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and was a finalist in the Best Digital/Technology Initiative in HR/L&D category. T&D also won a silver Stevie Award for Great Employers in the Learning/Training Team of the Year category. Saudi Aramco representatives attended the Stevie awards ceremony in New York on September 20 and the CIPD awards ceremony in London on September 24.

"In a rapidly changing learning environment, Saudi Aramco's Training and Development organisation continues to be a center of excellence in many areas as highlighted by the recognition that our programmes have received from our international peers. Such recognition provides validation as to the quality of T&D programmes, as well as promoting the company brand in the field of learning and development and as an employer of choice. This would not be possible without our amazing workforce. T&D's success in developing and delivering best in class training is a testament to their quality and professionalism."

Faisal A. Al-Hajji - general manager, Training & Development, Aramco

Abdullah Ghabanni, director of the Learning Solutions & Services Department, said, "The recognition by international organisations for T&D programmes is an appreciation of our employees and their continuous efforts to implement best in class training and development programs for the company employees. These two additional awards - of which we all are proud - recognize Saudi Aramco's efforts in training and development for the industrial and professional workforce." 

The CIPD awards recognised T&D's VAST programme for its advancements in curriculum content and the introduction of educational technologies offered to Saudi Aramco non-employees, the wider community, and external organisations. VAST is a suite of learning materials used as the core curricula of Saudi Aramco's industrial workforce apprenticeship program pre-employment, its job skills and compliance training programmes, and as a self-study and awareness programme for employees.

VAST uses iPads to deliver interactive custom content developed in-house. It allows T&D to effectively address the company's business lines requirements regarding the English language proficiency of the company's industrial workforce and the need for up-to-date technical content. About 4,000 trainees in the company's industrial apprentice programme receive instruction via VAST content each year. Since its introduction in 2016, VAST has also been licensed to third parties, contributing to T&D's ongoing efforts to become a revenue-generating organisation.

The Stevie Awards recognised T&D for its efforts in developing the VAST curriculum, as well as other achievements. The Programme Development & Evaluation Division has made a major shift in the relevance and quality of training materials used in the company's apprenticeship programme. In 2014, 80 percent of the programme's academic training materials consisted of commercial textbooks, while only 20 percent was developed in-house. Today, over 90 percent of the VAST's training materials consist of digital, interactive content developed in-house.

The award also recognises PD&ED's achievement in supporting the Saudi Aramco Driving Centre with custom content designed for the Kingdom's first women's driving centre and the development of skills-based courses for the Global Learning Opportunities from Within (GLOW) platform, which provides educational resources for company dependents. PD&ED employees had to increase their technological proficiency to accomplish these feats – many learned JavaScript, JQuery, and CSS3 skills to contribute to the VAST curriculum.

"The credit for this great achievement should go to our employees, who up-skilled themselves to introduce this remarkable educational technology that has enhanced the learning experience of our students and increased their level of engagement. This new digitally-enabled curriculum is fully developed in-house. I'm proud of this accomplishment and hope our employees are, too."

Wail S. AbolKhair - Administrator, Programme Development & Evaluation Division, Aramco