University activities serve not only as an important venue to establish cooperation between state, university and defence industry, but also as an opportunity to reach out directly to university students, who constitute the defence industry’s future. In a period, when defence representatives are finalising their preparations for the upcoming IDEF in May, Defence Technologies Congress 2017, organised by ITU (Istanbul Technical University) Defence Technologies Club known as one the first student clubs in Turkey, hosted a number of very beneficial presentations.
Established initially for the purpose of meeting the requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces by maximum use of domestic resources, and having grown aggressively within 10 years to meet export targets, the Turkish defence industry now faces one of the industrial problems already besetting developed countries: Qualified human resources. In fact, a few years ago, Koç Holding launched a social responsibility project in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education called “Vocational Education: A Crucial Matter for the Nation (MLMM)”, for the purpose of supporting primary school graduates to attend vocational high schools, which raise intermediate staff for various sectors. Although the Project was not an incentive specifically for the defence industry, it was a highly critical endeavour intended to demonstrate the importance of vocational education for the children and the youth in Turkey, and the fact that industries set off alarm bells. Whether Koç Holding and other large industrialists have benefited from this program is unknown; nevertheless, judging by the business volume that grows exponentially, it would not be wrong to argue that this requirement has become continuous and that it has to be dealt with immediately. Here exactly when this subject was on the agenda, or perhaps rather previously, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries launched another support program named the Researcher Training Program for Defence Industry (SAYP).