A major step in Saudization will take place when the Saudi-Japanese Automobile Institute is inaugurated in Jeddah tomorrow under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the outcome of an agreement reached during the Crown Prince's visit to Japan in 1998. The Institute, a joint venture between the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVT) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will produce annually 200 Saudis trained as automotive engineers, in a three-year course covering all aspects of automobile maintenance. Students of the first batch have already begun their training program, since the Institute started operating in September last year.
The Institute is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. The Saudi government provided the land for the project, while the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), and the Japanese Automobile Distributors Association in the Kingdom (JADIK) bore the cost of construction of the headquarters. In addition to providing Japanese expertise, JICA has been offering training for the Institute's Saudi staff and provides technical guidance, educational machinery and equipment for the project.