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Saudi and Coursera to train 100,000 new tech workers

Saudi Arabia Coursera Pexels/Mikhail Nilov
Saudi Arabia's new 'Fuel' programme will offer more than 200 courses on Coursera's platform
  • 200-plus courses available
  • Saudi fintechs a key target
  • Aims to reduce unemployment

Saudi Arabia is teaming up with online learning platform Coursera to train 100,000 new technology workers across the kingdom.

Its Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the National eLearning Center have launched a ‘Fuel’ programme offering training on the platform in various tech-related skills.

Aimed at job seekers, graduates and those looking to improve their career prospects, the initiative includes more than 200 training courses in 40 educational tracks and eight career paths.

Addressing the skills shortage and digital divide is one of the key economic and social pillars of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The battle for talent across the Mena region has intensified over the last 12 months following mass layoffs at global tech giants including Google and Meta.

This has been exacerbated further by the increase in the number of fintech hubs in the GCC from just one in 2018 to four in 2022: the Abu Dhabi Global Market, Bahrain Fintech Bay, Fintech Saudi and the FinTech Hive at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Since the launch of Fintech Saudi in April 2018 the number of fintechs in the kingdom has increased from 10 to 147 and more than 100,000 people have taken part in related events, training courses and internships.

By 2030 Saudi Arabia plans to host more than 500 fintechs and offer 18,000 related jobs, with the sector contributing $3.5 billion to the economy.

Earlier this month the kingdom launched a $200 million (SAR750 million) fund to invest in local and global tech companies as part of plans to diversify and create more high-quality technical jobs.

Vladimir Vrzhovski, workforce mobility leader at professional services firm Mercer Middle East, previously told AGBI: “Focusing on developing homegrown talent instead of competing for it would be the real game-changer to closing this gap.”

Unemployment among Saudi citizens increased to 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to data from the Saudi General Authority for Statistics.

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