The Israeli government has announced that it is to retrain 3,000 unemployed for jobs in high-tech over the next year. The "Emergency Program for Human Resources" is a joint initiative of the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy and Industry, which are allocating NIS 60 million to the program in order to train and find jobs for the participants in R&D and R&D support and in such areas as quality assurance, DevOps, and other fields including R&D and cybersecurity.
The program is designed to assist highly skilled employees who currently find themselves unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Israel Innovation Authority estimates that there were between 130,000 and 150,000 such candidates for the retraining scheme prior to the latest lockdown, which has likely only increased the numbers. Since the start of the pandemic, the only assistance offered by the Israel Innovation Authority has been for startups affected by the situation.
The Israel Innovation Authority hopes that the success of this pilot program will allow the scheme's expansion and the retraining of many more thousands of jobless.
Each participant in the course will receive a grant ranging between NIS 25,000 to NIS 45,000.
Israel Innovation Authority VP, head of startup division Anya Eldan said that the authority has for many years been involved in training programs and job placement because of shortage of professionals in high-tech. The new program serves the same purpose but also assists people who have suddenly found themselves unemployed.
The program will also provide employees for more traditional sectors, which because of the pandemic now require remote capabilities whether for staff working from home or to generate online sales.
There remains a question mark over whether there will be jobs for those who complete the retraining program. At the end of 2019 there were 15,000 jobs available in high-tech in Israel. But there have also been layoffs in high-tech and the Israel Innovation Authority estimates that the number of available jobs has shrunk to below 10,000 and many of those jobs will not be relevant for the inexperienced graduates of the retraining scheme.
Eldan says the Israel Innovation Authority will try to overcome this challenge by involving potential employees in the retraining program. She expects the course participants to get jobs in larger companies like IT integrators Matrix IT Ltd. (TASE:MTRX) and Ness as well as tech companies that outsource work abroad rather than startups which have a small number of employees.
Representatives of the Hamakpetza vocational training program operated by dozens of companies and social activist organizations said that it is not enough just to retraining academically educated people and that 90% of the new unemployed only have a high-school graduate certificate and are in desperate need of having their qualifications upgraded. The organization said, "It is not clear why those who are in need of more assistance find it delayed while other groups receive higher priority."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 5, 2020
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