More than 28,000 candidates of Saudi nationality have registered in just one month in the selection tests launched by the Renfe branch in Saudi Arabia, for the hiring of 30 female train drivers, the first in the country’s history to take this profession.
The chosen ones will drive the train that connects the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the first high-speed train to be built in the Middle East.
Of those registered, more than half have passed the first attitude test, carried out online, in which the academic record and the level of English were mainly assessed. The ages of the candidates presented to this process, which began on January 2, range between 22 and 30 years.
One year of paid training
For those initially admitted, more tests and a personal interview await, after which, a training period of just under a year will begin for those selected, in the facilities that the Meca Medina High Speed Spanish Consortium has at the Line Operations Center (OCC).
It is expected that this training, which will be paid, will start around March 15, and will consist of theoretical and practical classes, by fully Renfe staff.
Renfe and the companies of the Consortium carry out an important transfer of knowledge to Saudi society. Recently, the governor of the Al Qassim region, Prince Faisal bin Mishaal al Saud, and the Minister of Transport, Saleh bin Naser al Yaser, presented the Spanish consortium with an award for contributing to the training and certification of hundreds of local railway professionals.
More than 130 local train drivers trained
Between 2013 and 2014, the first train drivers were trained at the Renfe Professional Technical School of Driving and Operations in Madrid. The collaboration was extended as a result of an agreement signed with the Saudi Railway Politechnic (SRP) to provide theoretical training at its Qassim facilities. In total, more than 80 local train drivers have been trained by Renfe, and another 50 are in the training period.
Additionally, the Renfe subsidiary in Saudi Arabia has hired and trained more than 400 Saudis for the Commercial (stations and on-board) and Operations departments.
In total, at this time the operating company of Haramain High Speed Railway, in which Adif and Ineco also participate, has more than 1,300 direct workers at its service, the majority of Saudi nationality.
Photo credit: Renfe