Covid-19 will go away, the tech talent crunch will not, says tech veteran Yuval Eshel
Eshel, the CEO of custom software company Giga Real Time wants to launch an internship program for fresh-out-of-school programmers and says he needs $5.9 million in government funding to do so
For perspective, earlier this month, Israeli Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Itzik Shmuli announced he aims to allocate NIS 700 million (approximately $208 million) to professional training and assignment programs.
There are existing training programs, including government initiatives, why do we need another one?
“There isn’t a month that goes by without the IIA announcing a new program, but it will never address the root of the problem because it doesn’t offer a nationwide plan for mass career changes. Our goal is to get 10,000 additional people to join the tech sector. It will be good for the country and it will be good for these people. The IIA cannot do that. At best, it will get a company to help several dozens of people who will be very carefully selected.”According to Eshel, existing career orientation centers are not the answer because once training is complete people still have trouble finding work. It is in the interest of the state to do it, but none of the ministers rise to the occasion because they won’t see political gains from it, he said. “People think tech doesn’t need help but, the shortage of software professionals won’t end with the Covid-19 crisis,” Eshel said. A quality workforce is a national resource that needs to be supplied and it is no different than an oil well, he explained. “What is ridiculous is that it can be supplied at a much smaller investment than the billions that are currently being spent on various grants,” he added. One of the things holding back your program, which was presented to the government even before Covid-19, is the proposal that the state finances intern salaries for up to two years.
“It’s not like we are asking for this funding. The project should be a state one, it is not mine or the companies’. We want to form a career orientation center that doesn’t belong to a specific company and can guarantee internships for graduates at various software houses.”For over 20 years, Eshel said, government agencies and ministries have been launching various plans to promote tech employment but they always come with very strict restraints. The main issue is that the state fails to see how vital on-the-job training is, he said. Paying for internships seems like a way to fund the already flush with cash tech sector, Eshel said. “But, in reality, this program would not benefit the software companies,” he said, “it offers training and experience for job candidates who would otherwise remain unemployed.”