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The program, which first began in 2015, now covers 15 countries across the Middle East and is a gateway for students in the region to explore opportunities in the ICT industry.

The two-month course aims to bridge the gap between academia and the ICT industry for students looking to join companies like Ericsson. The online nature of the course enables Ericsson to target a large group of students at once, and is efficient in terms of cost and logistics. The course supports building a great pipeline of candidates for internship and graduate programs.

In the UAE, Ericsson has cooperated with the Zayed University, the American University of Sharjah and the Khalifa University of Science Technology & Research for the initiative.

"In the UAE, we are all about nurturing talent on an educational level so that the youth can soar high above their competition when they enter the job market. We are excited to continue with Ericsson's ICT Professional Foundation Program so that our students gain a fresh perspective on industry best practice standards in order to achieve the UAE Smart City Vision." said Dr. Andrew Marrington, Acting Dean of the College of Technological Innovation at Zayed University.

"It is our responsibility to motivate our students to become innovative thinkers to thrive in the competitive world of ICT. The ICT Professional Foundation Program will teach our students to think and to implement the latest technologies to lead the UAE into a vibrant smart future." Said Dr BjÖrn Kjerve, Chancellor, American University of Sharjah.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Ericsson's Head of Region Middle East and East Africa asserted that: "Ericsson is honored to cooperate with top universities across the region to launch the ICT Professional Foundation Program. We aim to prepare the ambitious young students by inspiring them and cultivating their capabilities helping them grow into outstanding professionals and lead in the Networked Society of the future."

Girish Johar, Head of Human Resources, Ericsson Middle East added: "We completed the first successful year of the ICT professional program with about 450 students. We are excited to commence the second phase, confident in the value that the program will bring for youth interested in the ICT industry. Like last year, diversity will remain a focus, so we broaden the talent pool for the ICT industry in the region."

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