Blog May 29th, 2023

Training the next generation of changemakers

As part of our commitment to developing and hiring local talent in Saudi Arabia, we created the Saudi Changemakers Program – a new type of internship program for junior software developers looking to get hands-on experience with Java, React and SQL outside of the Middle East.

Group of Saudi Changemakers working on a project together

Selecting the changemakers

The Saudi Changemakers Program, which is specifically targeted at national talent in Saudi Arabia, kicked off in December 2022.

More than 300 talented young Saudis applied to be part of the first cohort, with eligible candidates completing an online test created by our tech team.

In the end, 60 applicants were shortlisted and half of those invited for an in-person interview in Riyadh.

There, our mentoring team met with each candidate over a five-day period. They took the time to really get to know each candidate – their background, tech experience and knowledge, interest in projects, and more. They also introduced Nortal and our culture to the prospective interns. Finally, from 30 hopefuls, nine young Saudis were invited to join the program in February of this year.

– Muayyad Al Hazmy, Saudi Changemaker

I feel grateful to have been a part of this incredible journey, and I know the insights and experiences gained here will stay with me for a lifetime.

Learning from Nortalists

As part of their 3-month Changemakers journey, the interns traveled to Serbia in early March for an intensive two-week training, which included workshops, tech trainings, and lessons with our highly skilled engineers in Belgrade, to gain practical experience with Java, SQL and React technologies. There was also time for sightseeing and getting to know other Nortalists.

Group of Saudi Changemakers are reviewing a task

“I’ve been blown away by the level of talent and expertise at Nortal. It’s been inspiring to work alongside such skilled professionals and learn from them,” said Waleed Khalid Al-Dukhail, a Saudi Changemaker. He added: “And on top of that, Belgrade is a beautiful city with rich history, culture, and food! I feel lucky to have had the chance to experience it.”

The training trip culminated with a simulation of a real agile project. The group was divided into two teams who were tasked with developing two internal applications for Nortal – one for booking desks in the office and the other for booking vacation days. The final projects were a resounding success, both from the standpoint of our Changemakers and the mentors. In fact, the apps developed during the team challenge will be used in Nortal’s Serbian offices going forward.

Saudi Changemaker receiving a prize

What’s next

After finishing the two-week intensive, the interns returned to Saudi Arabia where they had the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and put what they had learned into practice on various client projects.

The internship program finally concluded earlier this month, with all the participants invited to stay with Nortal in permanent roles in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We want to thank everyone who took part in the program and can’t wait to see what’s next for this amazing cohort of Saudi Changemakers.

– Marko Nikolic, Partner and a Solution Architect, Nortal

The dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm of our young Saudi changemakers was something you do not see every day. Without any exaggeration, I think that they improved us as much as we improved them.

Saudi Changemakers first cohort

Become a changemaker

If you would like to join our next cohort of Saudi Changemakers, follow us on LinkedIn to see when applications open next.

Let's go!

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