GPCA boosts STEM education with tenth Edition of Leaders of Tomorrow programme

GPCA boosts STEM education with tenth Edition of Leaders of Tomorrow programme
Published: 13 March 2019 - midnight
By: Martin Menachery

The 10th edition of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme, powered by SABIC and Saudi Aramco, and hosted by Research & Development Center of Saudi Aramco, took place at Saudi Aramco’s Technical Exchange Center (TEC) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In line with its objective to empower the next generation of chemical industry leaders, the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) joined hands with nine member companies, sponsoring 61 students from top universities in the GCC to participate in the programme and provide an opportunity to learn about the industry and develop the skillset required to start a career in chemistry, or other allied industries.

Held as part of the 6th GPCA Research and Innovation Summit, the seminar focuses on the theme ‘R&I in the Digital Age’ and aims to enable knowledge transfer and ‘future proof’ skills building among students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by capturing the experience of senior industry leaders and equipping participants with the knowledge needed to stay abreast of the latest industry trends.

The seminar began with a presentation on the petrochemical industry’s challenges and opportunities by Dr Fahad Al-Sherehy, VP – technology and innovation, SABIC, followed by Dr Salman Fahad Alajmi, head of mega projects, and research and technology division, Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), who presented on how the industry can ride the wave of change. Dr Elie Fayad, Honeywell UOP manager, research and development, based in Dhahran Techno Valley (DTV), provided the students with insight into building a successful career in the research and innovation industry.

As part of the programme, students attended a site visit to Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center to learn about the cutting-edge technologies and innovations developed by one of the world’s leading energy companies and took part in an industry challenge workshop that saw the best team win an award. Leaders of Tomorrow concluded with a visit to Ithra – King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, developed by Saudi Aramco and inaugurated by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2017.

Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented, “Research and innovation have been the driving engine behind the success and rapid growth of the chemical industry since its inception, a trend that is set to continue for decades to come.Today, more than ever, we need to empower the young generation with the right skillset required to redefine and lead the next wave of chemical discoveries and technological breakthroughs.”

Dr Al-Sadoun added: “To stay competitive in this rapidly changing and disruptive world, we need to prepare our youth for jobs that are yet to be created, challenges that are yet to be faced, and technologies that are yet to be invented. Programmes like Leaders of Tomorrow are instrumental for developing the competencies of tomorrow and underscores GPCA’s commitment towards ensuring a steady flow of talent into the regional chemical industry and bridging the gap between industry and academia.”

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