Making Entertainment a Strength for Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Entertainment Academy

Vivien Exartier is in his forties and has lived in the Gulf for ten years. After an experience in Bahrain in the direction of partnerships and international relations for the Royal University for Women, a graduate of the Burgundy School of Business and a PhD from West Virginia University in the United States settled in Riyadh in August 2022. His new challenge: to become the general manager of the Saudi Entertainment Academy (SEA).

He enthusiastically describes this young institution because it fits perfectly with the Vision 2030 plan. Indeed, the “quality of life” dimension is one of the important pillars of the Kingdom’s strategy. “The population is young, and there is a real appetite for culture and entertainment that can be found both on an individual level and on a larger scale: most of the mega projects have very broad implications in terms of entertainment, culture, sports, events… We can mention Al-Ula, a Saudi Venture Entertainment project, Qiddiya , The Red Sea Project … “

SEA was created at the request and under the supervision of the Saudi government, especially the General Entertainment Authority (GEA). It is effet impératif that les Saoudiens soient forms aux spécificités des métiers du divertissement et de la culture, segmenteurs qui employed énormément de main-d’œuvre étrangère and dont le develope a explosé: «Nous some passés de quasiment rien à quasiment tout en a few years. There were no cinemas, few amusement parks, no theatres, no concerts or museums, and in a few years all this necessarily appeared with a strong demand in terms of qualified human resources: this is what we serve.

France is the project’s strategic partner, and the French Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports the initiative with great enthusiasm and facilitates numerous contacts in the fields of entertainment, culture and sports.

This is a commencé with a plate-forme of course en ligne à la demande of GEA, mise en place par l’academie de Paris, partenaire privilégié du projet qui gère in France triente-cinq mille formateurs et qui benéficie d’une solide experience en material. About 30 online courses are being made available to Saudis for free in 2021-2022 on topics such as “managing a museum, managing a crowd…” And a huge success: ninety-one thousand people have signed up for and followed the courses.

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At that time, SEA advanced by hosting two hundred and sixty students on its two campuses for degree courses designed in partnership with the University of the Côte d’Azur and especially the IUT of Nice.

France is the project’s strategic partner, and the French Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supports the initiative with great enthusiasm and facilitates numerous contacts in the fields of entertainment, culture and sports.

“It is clear that the content of the training is based on a repository of professions and jobs in the entertainment sector and the needs of the field. It is very accurate and allows students to get real experience.” The training takes place in rotation: “Students rotate at intervals in business and theoretical content, especially in family businesses in this sector such as Alhokair or Bunyan, with which we are very close.”

The Student Path is fully funded by the government through the Human Resources Development Fund, a fund that aims to address youth employment issues.

For the Director General of the Saudi Entertainment Academy, Vivian Exartier, the Kingdom’s ambitions require a very wide range of training and France is at the forefront in these areas.

Together with CEO Ihab Aburouka, Vivienne Exartiere is also developing a third component with a professional training activity targeting executives and employees in the sector. The Paris Academy has recently brought in an expert in the field of public event security and at the end of January 2023 the course will be offered by Simon Chadwick, professor at Skema Business School, a French management school that SEA hopes to develop fruitfully. Relationships, particularly in terms of continuing education. The topic of the course is Investing in sports assetsBecause sport is clearly a priority for SEA.

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For Vivien Exartier, the kingdom’s ambitions require a very wide scope of training and France is at the forefront in these areas: “This corresponds to the will of the Saudi government. Relying on the best institutions to be able to support the fastest possible development”.

Recalling the first six months in the operational management of SEA leaves a wide smile on Vivian Exartier’s face.

However, his greatest pride is his students: “What makes me proud is that the work we do is useful, because our students are constantly invited to work at events throughout the kingdom: I am sent to a golf tournament, to various festivals, to run fairs, exhibitions.. In short, the days when we feel the slightest doubt about our commitment, just look at the applications and requests we have and the very positive feedback we always receive from employers to let our students know we are moving in the right direction.”

In a country visibly changing and betting on tourism, culture and leisure, SEA and its French partners have become key players in training in a sector where everything still has to be done and invented.

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