x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Nationals to be trained for roles in running capital's chip foundry

Moves are being undertaken to ensure that several senior mangement positions in the Abu Dhabi's Globalfoundries facility will be filled by Emiratis.

The Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic) is recruiting UAE nationals for training at Globalfoundries' microprocessor factories abroad in preparation for the opening of a foundry in Abu Dhabi.

Atic owns 83 per cent of Globalfoundries, a maker of customised microchips with facilities in Germany, Singapore and New York.

A microchip foundry is to be built in Abu Dhabi outside Masdar City by 2015. Steps were being taken to ensure that several senior management positions in the company would be filled by nationals, said Sami Issa, an executive director at Atic who is leading the development of the Abu Dhabi technology ecosystem.

Atic has developed an "international work assignment" programme that will recruit UAE nationals who have technical experience to spend two years in Globalfoundries' offices abroad with the aim of returning with enough experience to help lead the Abu Dhabi foundry.


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"We need a few. We don't need too many," Mr Issa said. "But it's important to have a senior [group] of Emiratis in the factory to act as a role model for the younger ones."

Atic was aiming to recruit 40 nationals to take part in the programme, Mr Issa said.

It is part of Atic's long-term goal to create a technology ecosystem that will be anchored by the Globalfoundries facility and surrounded by companies researching and developing high-tech equipment and processes.

Atic's efforts are among a series of schemes that Abu Dhabi technology companies including Yahsat and Etisalat are developing to broaden the local technology workforce.

"The presence of an industry is an integral component of transforming education," Mr Issa said.

"Abu Dhabi is doing exactly that. They made a large investment in Atic where we have three mature and robust hubs in the world, in Germany, New York and Singapore. We're trying to plug Abu Dhabi in that network to tap into getting that knowledge and necessary skills."

This month, the ownership of Atic was transferred to Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.

Despite the emphasis on semiconductors, Atic's educational initiative is also intended to attract more local youths into science and technology generally.

"Whenever we talk about our human capital strategy, we always talk about expanding the pie," Mr Issa said.

"The Emirati talent pool is pretty scarce and there's a lot of other initiatives competing for the same set of people.

"But we cannot guarantee that everyone we touch in our science outreach programme will be interested in semiconductors, but it doesn't matter. As long as they make the shift to science and technology, Abu Dhabi benefits."