VMware, Inc., and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan University (PSU), announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop plans to establish the first Regional VMware IT Academy in the Gulf, supporting youth digital skills development and the aims of Saudi Vision 2030.
VMware IT Academy is a public–private partnership to help individuals gain the foundational digital knowledge they need to compete in today’s workforce by providing access to undergraduate certifications and ongoing skills education. PSU, the first private university in the Kingdom, already offers select VMware courses and now plans to expand this with more tutors and the comprehensive range of courses to its more than 6,000 undergraduate students. As the regional hub, the university will also be responsible for implementing the IT Academy program across other higher educational institutions and training the new tutors to further enhance Saudi Arabia’s skill sets.
Demand for IT skills in the Kingdom is surging as investment in technology grows, especially as organizations accelerate their digital transformation. Saudi Vision 2030 also aims to transform the Kingdom into a globally competitive ICT hub and boost , particularly local participation, employment and foreign direct investment in manufacturing and services. Spending on IT in Saudi Arabia is set to grow more than $6 billion through 2024, according to a recent report by Technavio.
Dr. Mohamed Alkanhal, Dean of Computer & Information Sciences, PSU, said: “Saudi Vision 2030 has elevated the role of technology in developing Saudi Arabia’s economy and society, creating huge demand for advanced IT skills. We’re thrilled to be in discussions as the first Regional VMware IT Academy in the Gulf. PSU students will have the opportunity to gain advanced training in VMware technologies to help them secure in-demand IT jobs, and support post-pandemic digital transformation in Saudi Arabia and across the region.”
The regional VMware IT Academy will help students to develop advanced IT skills in areas including modern apps, cloud and automation, and digital workspace. Courses will initially be delivered online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. PSU already has 16 tutors trained to deliver the VMware IT Academy syllabus, and it is anticipated that teaching will start in September.
In line with Saudi Vision 2030’s aims to empower women in the workforce, PSU and VMware are committed to encouraging women to participate in the programme and progress their careers in ICT. Three of the PSU tutors trained to deliver the VMware courses are women, and the university is planning initiatives to maximize the number of female students who enrol on the courses.
Saif Mashat, Country General Manager for Saudi Arabia, VMware, said: “We hope the Regional VMware IT Academy at PSU will play a key role in supporting IT job creation and training the Gulf region’s next generation of ICT innovators. Students will gain the practical training, knowledge and certifications they need to help transform the region’s economy and society, and improve the lives of citizens and residents.”
VMware has collaborated with PSU since 2017, when VMware partnered with PSU on the Education for Employment initiative (E4E), which helps Saudi graduates from any university gain vocational IT skills for employment. The E4E programme, which includes courses on VMware Virtual Data Center and VMware vSphere, has already helped 141 graduates gain employment between 2019 and 2020, with a further 100 students on track to be hired in 2021 as a result of the programme.