Thirteen Saudi women have been trained to assemble trucks for Mercedes-Benz and its Jeddah partner, marking a breakthrough in having women work in a male-dominated job in the Kingdom.
Khaled Juffali, chairman of the Juffali Automotive Company, made the announcement during a visit by Commerce & Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.The company produces 5,000 trucks annually in Jeddah in a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz.The company trained the 13 women in technical work assembly of light parts of heavy machinery. The women are now building vehicles. “We are the first pioneers in automobile industry who took the initiative of training women in this field, complying with Shariah, at our training center,” said the company’s human resources director, Fawad who requested his family name not be published.“The first group of female learners is now working with the company as full-time employees. We are planning to hire more female students who are interested in learning and eventually working at the company.”
He said there is not much space in the old factory and that it was not built to accommodate female workers. The company is planning to expand the factory and make a separate section for female workers. “The process will be implemented gradually,” he said.“We began with only five women. We now have almost 15. We took the initiative so we can better serve the country and nation. We don’t differentiate between men and women in terms of salary and other benefits. All our employees are equal to us.”“We took them unemployed females, trained them and they are now assembling lights, bumpers and other technical parts,” Fawad said. “We taught them how to use tools.”The factory also has a program to attract employees with special needs and integrate them into the company. – ArabNews