Raytheon Saudi Arabia launches new internship program to develop young talent
Hassan Almalki (standing) presents to his fellow Riyadh-based interns and members of Raytheon Saudi Arabia’s (RSA) HR team. RSA’s six-month internship program started in June 2021 and concludes in December 2021.
Raytheon Saudi Arabia (RSA) is devoting increasing energy and resources to realizing the potential of Saudi youth, which is one of the key objectives of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy for social and economic reform.
After successfully graduating six interns in the past two years, hiring two of them permanently, the defense, aerospace and cybersecurity company—a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies—formally launched an annual six-month internship program this June.
This new initiative has attracted significant interest, with each of its seven advertised positions receiving more than a hundred applications, said RSA’s HR Director Ali Albar. “The program is unique because of the way it combines classroom theory, practical experience and mentorship from company leaders, not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the US, the UK and Australia.”
After a rigorous selection process, five male and two female final-year students were chosen to support RSA teams in Riyadh and Jeddah. Their roles complement their studies, focusing on areas such as supply chain, human resources, IT, project management, localization and contracts.
“The past four years of my degree have all been about information,” said Asma Almohammed, a human resources undergraduate from King Saud University in Riyadh. “Now, I’m putting that into practice. It’s a great feeling. I want to be an expert in the HR field, and Raytheon is helping me achieve my goal.”
Almohammed and her fellow interns work individually as well as in teams. And, while the program’s facilitators maintain a manageable workload, it is structured to encourage each participant to take responsibility.
For instance, in just three months, Almohammed has managed the hiring process for eight positions from start to finish. She said that working with different personalities has made her more resilient and interacting with multiple job applicants has greatly improved her industry knowledge. “Each applicant responds to the same interview question with their own experience and perspective. That has been an enjoyable learning experience for me.”
Hassan Almalki, who is studying industrial and systems engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, has also benefited from the program’s hands-on emphasis. “Working in the supply chain department has allowed me to apply industrial engineering tools, to help improve processes and drive efficiencies. I’ve seen how the program management and business development teams operate as well.”
In addition to motivating the students to apply the skills they’ve learned in college; the internship also gives its participants a solid grounding in technical subjects which may be unfamiliar. For example, the program’s inaugural cohort took part in a three-day workshop on the principles of system engineering, conducted by Raytheon experts in Saudi Arabia, Australia and the U.S.
Another objective is for the interns to share these internship experiences with their college classmates and also promote the defense and aerospace industry overall, plus Raytheon in particular, as a desirable career choice. “We hope they will become ambassadors and spread the word,” Albar said, adding that sincerity, a strong work ethic, good communication and being a team player are among the key attributes the company looks for in an employee.
While her peers will finish their placements in December, Ruba Alsulami resumed her degree after spending 10 weeks with RSA’s contracts team. A business administration undergraduate at Umm Al-Qura University in Mecca, Alsulami said her internship stint at RSA gave her a deeper understanding of the company’s complex role.
“It was one of the most rewarding learning experiences I’ve had,” she said. “I gained real-world insights into the administrative applications of defense industry contracts, and I particularly enjoyed working with the team I was assigned to. Raytheon has been the perfect environment to hone my skills.”
Looking to the future
The positive impressions of the internship program’s first seven participants augur well for its long-term success. Raytheon Saudi Arabia will accept applications, starting in February 2022, to join its 2022 internship program, which will begin in June 2022.