Saudi Arabia trains 1st women air traffic controllers

:: Saudi women will be trained to work as air traffic controllers, the Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) has announced.

SANS said it was offering theoretical and practical training to 80 women per year to prepare them for work in the air traffic control sector.

“The applicants began taking admission exams on Sunday for the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation and will undergo a number of editorial tests,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said in a report.

Applicants must have a high school diploma with high marks and be between 18 and 25, it said.

Saudi Arabia seeks to create more jobs for women as part of a reform push to wean the economy off oil.

Its Vision 2030 plan aims to increase employment and diversify revenue sources.

Some of the planned changes, like increasing the number of women in the overall workforce to 28 percent from 23 percent and quadrupling their presence in senior civil service roles to 5 percent, would transform society.

Most employed women work for the Kingdom’s vast public sector, primarily in health and education, but authorities say they seek to encourage more hiring by private firms as part of the Vision 2030 plan.

Last year, a senior scholar said women should be allowed to work as paramedics and opticians, and last month women staffed an emergency call center at the Hajj pilgrimage for the first time.

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