Cisco plans to invest $268 million in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH — Cisco plans to invest $268 million in Saudi Arabia over the next five years and has set up an initiative to develop and recruit local network consulting engineers (NCE). In information made available to Khaleej Times here, the company said Jordan would act as a hub and cater to trainees across the Gulf Cooperation Council states the Levant and North Africa.

By Our Correspondent

Published: Wed 21 Nov 2007, 8:45 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:20 PM

It explained that the initiative to develop NCEs is part of a bid in emerging countries to employ and train 96 recruits in fiscal year 2008 and 200 by fiscal year 2009 at the professional and associate levels. Selected students will be put through a rigorous programme that combines theory, industry exposure and hands-on experience at regional Cisco technology academies.

According to Cisco, entry-or associate-level subjects for the programme are typically recent college graduates and mid or professional-level students who have significant prior experience with Cisco networking. After the completion of training, students will generally make the transition to full-time employment with Cisco Advanced Services as NCEs, working out of Cisco's regional service delivery hub.

The company launched its Global Talent Acceleration Programme in emerging countries at a ceremony in Amman on Monday.

The event was presided over by Basem Rousan, Jordan's minister of information and communications technology; David Hale, U.S. ambassador to Jordan; and Wim Elfrink, Cisco's chief globalisation officer.

Part of an ongoing investment in the region, the Global Talent Acceleration Programme, is a long-term Cisco initiative aimed at developing next-generation local NCEs for the company.

"Cisco is growing rapidly in emerging countries, and we have witnessed that the demand for technical talent has undoubtedly exceeded supply," said Elfrink.

"The launch of the Global Talent Acceleration Programme furthers our commitment to support governments in addressing the shortfall and in turn drive economic growth by training and recruiting local workers and reducing dependency on external hiring. We will work closely with local governments to nurture talent and bridge the gap between supply and demand, as we believe local or near-shore employees are best suited to understand and address the business requirements of their native regions," he added.

According to him, by increasing the pool of skilled and certified local associate or professional engineers, the programme will enable Cisco to better serve customers in emerging countries by providing a highly skilled workforce. "Our investment will help foster a climate of confidence in which business and government leaders commit to major new projects," Elfrink said.

Cisco Learning Solutions Partners, Synergy and Fast Lane will be the initial providers of Cisco learning courses for the programme in Amman. Estarta Solutions, a strategic Cisco partner in the Middle East will host and manage the programme training facility at its premises in Amman.

"The Global Talent Acceleration Programme is a proof of Cisco's culture as a corporation that acts responsibly to the people and countries where it operates," said Ziad Mortaja, regional general manager and director for Cisco Middle East, North Africa and the Levant. "We see ourselves as a responsible and long-term partner to businesses and communities in the region, and the new initiative marks a significant step forward in Cisco's service-delivery capability. With the availability of local skilled staff, Cisco will be able to provide its customers and partners with improved direct support. Furthermore, local network professionals will help meet regulatory targets and reduce the costs previously incurred in flying in global talent into the region," Mortaja added.

"As one of Cisco's strategic partners in Jordan, we commend Cisco for this initiative, said Majdi Al Beit Shawish, CEO at Estarta. "The Global Talent Acceleration Programme will provide us with the right resources to deliver large-scale network infrastructure projects in the region. We are enthusiastic about the programme, which will allow us to enlarge our talent pool of service engineers with the consulting skills, know-how and experience to build, maintain and extend support to our customers," he added.

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