Saudis building the future: Why construction expertise could be the Kingdom’s next big export

Saudis building the future: Why construction expertise could be the Kingdom’s next big export

Barry Lewis, CEO at ALEC shares how the Kingdom’s unparalleled wave of construction mega-projects and world-firsts is helping foster top-class talent in the nation’s construction industry.

Barry Lewis, CEO at ALEC

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is propelling the country through a construction boom. Gigaprojects like NEOM, the Red Sea Project and Qiddiya are not just massive in scale but also ambitious in their vision.

These projects are reshaping the Saudi Arabian landscape while simultaneously nurturing the development of skilled Saudi professionals and experts in various construction disciplines.

Much has been said about how these investments are elevating Saudi Arabia’s status on the world stage, drawing in foreign investment, and paving the way for unprecedented economic growth.

Barry Lewis, CEO at ALEC highlights an often overlooked but critical advantage – the long-term benefits to the Saudi workforce. Over the last two years, the company, a regional construction leader, has invested heavily in establishing offices, warehouses and production facilities across the Kingdom.

Partnering with local firms such as SAUDICO and El Seif, it is working to develop some of the country’s most prestigious projects including Diriyah Gate, and Qiddiya Water Park and Speed Park.

“In the current phase, the commendable investments announced by the government have given incentive for the inflow of top talent to the Kingdom. Projects such as the Line and Trojena in Neom, which aims to revolutionise urban dwelling, and Al Ula, which honours timeless traditions while seamlessly blending these with cutting-edge technologies, are pushing the boundaries of what is possible,” said Lewis.

“These landmark projects offer construction pioneers the opportunity to actively shape the future of the industry. Recognising the immense potential and significance of these projects, organisations such as ALEC are investing heavily in expanding their footprint in the Kingdom. This physical expansion is complimented by the implementation of the industry’s highest standards and utilisation of the latest technologies and methodologies.”

Consequently, Saudi nationals working in the construction sector now have an unmissable opportunity to rapidly ramp up their skills under the mentorship of world leaders. “These professionals are ideally positioned to be actively involved in the implementation of industry best practices. And because so many of these mega projects are breaking new ground for the sector, these Saudi nationals will have the opportunity to gain expertise on construction paradigms that haven’t been implemented anywhere else in the world,” said Lewis.

The challenges currently being tackled by the ambitious undertakings in Saudi Arabia are of global relevance – forward-focused urban planning, eco-conscious design, sustainable construction, large-scale project management, the utilisation of cutting-edge technologies such as AI and collaboration with stakeholders across the world. These projects have raised never seen before demands for skilled labour in various construction disciplines, including engineering, project management, architecture and sustainable design.

Lewis highlights that regional and international engineering firms need to make a concerted effort to ensure Saudi nationals are empowered to capitalise on this opportunity. “Through a slew of investments, initiatives and favourable policy reforms, the Saudi government has in effect enabled international businesses to thrive in the Kingdom. The obligation is on these organisations to in turn demonstrate their support for the nation and its people,” he said.

“At ALEC, we are committed to fostering local talent in Saudi Arabia, as we understand that this is essential to the sustainability of our business and the overall construction sector. We have implemented cadet programs for early-stage recruitment and training of Saudi professionals and are in dialogue with local educational institutions to bolster this initiative.”

Highlighting how this is helping bolster the reach and impact of the Kingdom’s skills and knowledge-based economy, Lewis said, “The potential for Saudi nationals in the construction sector extends well beyond the borders of the Kingdom. As these individuals gain expertise and experience on an ever-growing portfolio of world firsts, they become valuable assets not only to their country but also to the global construction industry.”

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent CIO Middle East

View Magazine Archive