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Cisco launches initiative to help everyone in the UK develop digital skills

Cisco launches initiative to help everyone in the UK develop digital skills
Celebrating 20 years of the Cisco Networking Academy, Cisco commits to train an additional 250,000 people in the UK by 2020
Cisco launches initiative to help everyone in the UK develop digital skills READ FULL ARTICLE
Cisco launches initiative to help everyone in the UK develop digital skills

Cisco launches initiative to help everyone in the UK develop digital skills

October 24, 2017
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London, UK, 24th October – Digital opportunity for everyone. For individuals, communities and organisations across the UK. As part of its commitment to support digitisation in the UK, Cisco has today announced initiatives to help everyone in the UK develop their digital skills. In doing so, the company is pledging to help train a further 250,000 people in the UK by 2020.

Underpinned by the Cisco Networking Academy, which celebrates its 20th year and over 240,000 students in the UK, Cisco will work with education, government, industry and communities, in an effort to skill or retrain individuals from across the UK and develop the next generation of talent required for the digital economy to thrive. 

“The future competitiveness of the UK will be determined by our commitment as a nation and as employers, to ensure that we have the skills required for a thriving digital economy. The education system alone cannot be expected to keep up with the increasing skills gap, but if we as technology leaders and future employers partner with government and education to address the opportunity now, we can ensure that the UK cements its place as a digital leader.” said Scot Gardner, Chief Executive of Cisco UK & Ireland.

He added “The commitment that we make today is based on our belief that everyone should have access to the right training, when they need it.”

Today’s announcement from Cisco is part of its ongoing collaboration with the UK government and the Digital Skills Partnership. The government-led partnership brings together technology companies, local businesses, local government, charities and other organisations to share knowledge and best practices, to ensure the UK can close the digital skills gap.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: "I'm delighted that Cisco will provide free training for 250,000 people as part of the Digital Skills Partnership. This is in addition to the 200,000 people they have already helped in UK through their Networking Academy.

"As part of our Digital Strategy the partnership with industry is helping to strengthen our world-leading digital sectors right across the country to ensure growth in every region."


To deliver on the pledge, Cisco is launching two new initiatives that address all levels of education, and are available at the heart of the community:

Providing support for the teaching of Computing in Schools: Cisco has partnered with The Open University to launch a ‘Computing for Schools’ programme. The initiative provides teachers across the UK with training and resources to help them deliver the computing curriculum. Developed in partnership with Birmingham City University, initially for teachers who in many cases have only basic computer literacy training, the programme is accessible to anyone in the UK, including for the eight and a half million school age children. The course provides the tools to support development of computing and digital skills across all key stages.

For students starting from five years old, the Computing for Schools programme offers greater insight and skills that can be applied in the real-world. Learning starts with understanding the differences between the Internet and the World Wide Web, how to use the Web and watch out for misleading information. E-safety is at the heart of the materials with themes of ‘safe and responsible use’ being woven through the curriculum. Younger students tackle the types of problem solving required in computer networking and using tools like Packet Tracer build a simulation of their home networks. This helps them understand how ‘things’ are all connected and how we have to be ‘security aware’ so that this connectivity is not exploited for malicious or criminal purposes. As students progress through key stages or proficiency level, the programme further develops all of the concepts to GCSE levels.

Making digital skills training accessible through Libraries: Cisco is launching a programme to provide access to digital skills training in libraries across the nation. Available first in Manchester, the birthplace of the public library in the UK. In all 22 libraries in Manchester, including the iconic Central Library, residents will have free access to courses that range from the basics of getting online, to providing an introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity. Following the launch in Manchester, other cities are set to introduce the programme in early 2018.


Cisco’s skills programmes in the UK are built around three principles:

1. Providing access to the right skills, when they are needed

Teaching computer literacy at an early age is vital to preparing young people for future employment, but it doesn’t end there. Cisco believes in providing access to digital skills training when it is needed. Whether by working with education to help teach the basics of cyber-security at school, providing the platforms to develop coding capability as a professional, or the ability to retrain to become a network engineer later in life.

2. With opportunity for everyone

With 90 percent of jobs anticipated to be digital in the next 20 years [1], it is not enough to only train for the technology industry. With over 300 Networking Academies in the UK, Cisco works with organisations of all types to create digital opportunity in formal education through schools, colleges and universities, but also in non-traditional environments like prisons, homeless shelters, schools for the blind, and through training partnerships with JobCentre+.

3. Using our networks to help as many people as we can

No one organisation can do it alone. Cisco believes in the power of ecosystem partnerships. The task at hand requires industry and academia to work together. It also requires a different approach to reaching the widest range of people, with the biggest impact. Which is why Cisco actively engages in programmes such as the Digital Skills Partnership and partners with organisations like The Open University and STEM Learning to take our programmes further.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Cisco’s digitisation strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country. It is part of Cisco’s global commitment to accelerating digitisation of countries around the world. For further examples, please visit the Cisco Newsroom.


Read Our Commitment to Digital Skills in the UK here.

Find out about Cisco skills programmes in the UK: https://www.cisco.com/c/en_uk/about/our-programmes.html


Press contact:

Amy Lucas

PR Manager, UK & Ireland



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