Lockheed Martin arming Saudis with high-tech skills

Alan Chinoda, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia. (AN photo)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Lockheed Martin arming Saudis with high-tech skills

DUBAI: Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer, will dedicate more than 1 million hours to training Saudi men and women, a top company official has confirmed.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, in February 2016 signed an agreement to establish a joint venture with TAQNIA Aeronautics for helicopter production in Saudi Arabia.
The agreement outlined the investment, technology and skills needed to establish an assembly line to produce Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia.
“This would be Black Hawk helicopters produced by Saudis for Saudi Arabia; we plan to invest more than a million hours in this endeavor,” said Alan Chinoda, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia.
“If you look at the future we are well invested in building human capital (in Saudi Arabia),” Chinoda said.
“We have a number of multi-collaborative efforts that we are working on with KACST (King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology), KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) and ... the Mohammed bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship, which started its MBA program this September.”
Lockheed Martin has been working with Saudi Arabia since 1965 with the delivery of the Kingdom’s first C-130 Hercules airlifter.

According to TAQNIA Aeronautics, the S-70 Blackhawks will be marketed to members of the Islamic Alliance as well as Saudi companies.
TAQNIA Aeronautics focuses on the transfer of technology in the aerospace industry, and aims to boost high-skilled production jobs for Saudi citizens and increase the localization of defense sector expenditure.
 


Israel’s tech sector faces challenge from shortage of workers

Updated 16 December 2018
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Israel’s tech sector faces challenge from shortage of workers

  • The sector accounts for about 45 percent of Israel’s exports
  • Arabs account for only 3 percent of tech workers but this is expected to change soon as 18 percent of all computer science students today are Arab

TEL AVIV: Israel is struggling to recruit enough workers to its technology sector, a report showed on Sunday, creating a challenge for an industry seen as the country’s main potential driver of economic growth over the next decade.
Start-Up Nation Central, which published the report with the Israel Innovation Authority, said that while the number of high-tech workers in Israel had grown over the past five years, their percentage of the labor force remained unchanged.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the required growth will not be possible if the country’s supply of tech workers is inadequate,” said Eugene Kandel, head of Start-Up Nation Central
“Tech companies are struggling to find tech professionals, with many already finding (them) overseas.”
The number of tech workers — who earn more than double the average wage — grew to 280,000 in 2017 from 240,000 in 2013 but represent only 8 percent of the workforce, down from nearly 10 percent in 2008.
This is surprising given that investment into high-tech has soared, with venture capital funding exceeding $5 billion in 2017 and closing in on $6.5 billion this year. The number of multinationals operating development centers in Israel jumped to nearly 350 in 2016 from around 50 in 2000.
The sector accounts for about 45 percent of Israel’s exports. But about 15,300 positions remain open.
To find workers, Israeli companies are opening development centers overseas, mainly in Ukraine but also in the United States, Russia and India. Several dozen firms have also taken advantage of a rapid process established by the government in 2018 to obtain special visas for foreign tech workers.
But in the long term more initiatives are needed to increase the pool of workers, Kandel told reporters. There is great potential among women, who represent only 23 percent of tech workers, as well the largely untapped Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jewish sectors.
Arabs account for only 3 percent of tech workers but this is expected to change soon as 18 percent of all computer science students today are Arab, similar to their share of the population.
One obstacle for their employment in high-tech is that they live far from the country’s center.
Aharon Aharon, head of the government’s Innovation Authority, said he would launch two plans in the first quarter of 2019 — one to provide incentives in building an innovation ecosystem in the periphery and another to encourage tech companies to open branches outside of the center.