More than 28,000 women from Saudi Arabia have registered in just one month in the selection tests launched by the branch in Saudi Arabia of the Spanish railway operator Renfe, for the hiring of 30 female high-speed train drivers.
This is the first time in the history of the Middle Eastern country that women will carry out this work. The recruitment process began on 2 January.
Those selected will drive the trains connecting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the first high-speed line built in the Middle East. The line was built by Spanish companies and Renfe is also involved in running the service, which started in 2018.
According to a press release by Renfe, of the registered women, more than half have passed the first attitude test, carried out online. In this first state, the academic record and the level of English of the candidates were mainly assessed.
The ages of the applicants range between 22 and 30 years.
Further tests and a personal interview await the women initially admitted. Later, a training period of just under a year will begin for those selected, in the facilities that the Mecca-Medina High Speed Spanish Consortium has in its operations center.
A year of paid training
It is expected that this training, which will be paid, will start around 15 March, and will consist of theoretical and practical classes, taught entirely by Renfe staff.
Between 2013 and 2014, the first Saudi train drivers were trained at the Renfe Professional Technical School of Driving and Operations in Madrid.
The collaboration was extended as a result of an agreement signed with the Saudi Railway Politechnic (SRP) to provide theoretical training at its Qassim facilities. In total, more than 80 local train drivers have been trained by Renfe, and another 50 are in the training period.
Additionally, the Renfe subsidiary in Saudi Arabia has hired and trained more than 400 Saudis for the Commercial Operations departments.