KAUST Core Labs launches Machinist Apprenticeship Development Program

Apprentice machinists (from left to right) Yasser Al-Omrani, Ali Al-Furshuti and Moath Al-Omari in the workshop. Photo by Lilit Hovhannisyan.

Three recent graduates of Yanbu Industrial College have joined the first intake of the Machinist Apprenticeship Development Program (MADP) designed and hosted by the KAUST Core Labs. The 18-month pilot program was created to develop technical capacity and expand knowledge through practical applications at the University's CMOR Harbor and Central Workshops.

Ali Al-Furshuti, Yaseer Al-Omrani and Moath Al-Omari, all three of the inaugural program students, finished at the top of their class in Manufacturing Technology Engineering. Through the MADP, the Core Labs hope to develop the skills of local machinists like Al-Furshuti, Al-Omrani and Al-Omari to the level of a journeyman machinist. This is an important foundation, as it will enable the apprentice machinists to become master machinists and go on to independently run industrial workshop facilities in the future.

Usman Ghani, machinist, teaches apprentice machinists Moath Al-Omari (bottom left), Ali Al-Furshuti (top left) and Yasser Al-Omrani (right) how to use the Mighty Viper Milling CNC machine, observing how a program is loaded into the machine’s computer and then interpreting commands in the program. 
-Photo by Lilit Hovhannisyan.

"This is part of a wider program of contributions to the Kingdom that aims to share the knowledge of our highly qualified staff," said Justin Lee Mynar, associate vice president for research and the executive director of the KAUST Core Labs.

The Core Labs team took inspiration from Saudi Aramco to develop the program. Mynar explained that the Core Labs aims to foster local talent.

In general, Saudi companies and research facilities find it difficult to service and staff their workshops and often rely on foreign service providers. "The knowledge apprentices take away
Apprentice machinist Moath Al-Omari checks in on how his work is progressing. Photo by Lilit Hovhannisyan.
from the program goes beyond the workshop," explained La Von Bennett, manager of the Central Workshops.

The apprentices are also enrolled in courses that improve resume writing and entrepreneurial and language skills. English classes give them a well-rounded training program, further improving their employability.

"One of my dreams was to work in a place like KAUST with state-of-the-art technology and the highest degree of professionalism," Al-Furshuti said of his first impressions of the University. "People here are friendly and cooperative. Everything you might need is within reach. Being at KAUST is really a dream come true."

Al-Omari also described what he wants to achieve through the program.
"I hope to develop myself as a journeyman machinist and learn more about the CNC machines and CAM programs that are used at the KAUST machine shops in order to master the craft," he said.