Renfe’s recruitment drive attracts 38,000 women in Saudi Arabia for train driver training

Posted: 12 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Renfe’s latest recruitment drive in Saudi Arabia has attracted 38,000 women applicants for high-speed train driver training, showcasing the company’s commitment to enhancing workforce diversity in the country.

Renfe's recruitment drive attracts 38,000 women in Saudi Arabia for train driver training

Credit: Renfe

Renfe, Spain’s national railway operator, has announced that it is reinforcing its commitment to workforce diversity in Saudi Arabia through a recruitment drive in partnership with the Saudi Railway Polytechnic (SRP). The latest initiative has attracted 38,000 applicants, significantly boosting the number of women pursuing careers as high-speed train drivers.

This recruitment drive is the second of its kind, following a successful campaign in 2022 that had seen 28,000 women in Saudi Arabia apply. From those initial applicants, 14,000 advanced to take an exam at SRP’s facility in Qassim, and 34 women ultimately completed the rigorous training programme. These women became the first female train drivers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The increased interest, with 10,000 more applicants than the previous drive, highlights the growing enthusiasm among women in the country for this profession.

The new training programme, starting in July 2024, offers 35 places and includes 483 hours of theoretical training and 674 hours of practical training over one year. Candidates must be Saudi nationals aged 22 to 30, have an educational score of at least 70%, be proficient in English and pass entrance exams.

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Since 2018, Renfe has played a crucial role in operating the Haramain High Speed Railway, connecting Madinah and Makkah and transporting approximately seven million passengers in 2023. Renfe’s presence in Saudi Arabia extends beyond train operations to include recruiting and training over 800 Saudis for roles in Commercial Services, Sales and Operations departments.

The first Saudi high-speed train drivers received their training at Renfe’s Technical Professional School of Driving and Operations in Madrid. This international training initiative has expanded through an agreement with SRP to provide local theoretical training, blending global best practices with local insights.

“SRP’s partnership with Renfe has been of great value, directly contributing to the goals of Vision 2030 and resulting in training being imparted to young Saudi citizens to contribute to the management, operation and maintenance of the Saudi railway industry,” said the Saudi authorities.

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