Have you the skills to succeed in the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’?
Digital Business, Country Digital Acceleration, Thought Leadership
One of the most defining challenges of our time is how fast both countries and companies can reskill their workforce in order to accelerate and succeed in the 4th industrial revolution. Technology will play a critical part. But people’s capability to ‘accelerate and scale’ technology plays an even greater influence in its ultimate impact and success.
This might seem a strange thing for a person working in the technology industry to say, until you realise that Cisco has been striving to close the global technology skills gap for 20 years. Since its inception, Cisco’s Networking Academy has helped over 7.8 million people. I’m not talking about an in-house training school, but a free learning platform, delivered in partnership with 9600 schools and universities in 180 countries around the world.
In 1997, we gave some computing kit to a school near our headquarters. We thought it would support their performance, until we realised that they didn’t have the skills to use it to their advantage. As a result, we created Cisco’s Networking Academy to address this skills gap. Today, we are helping over 1 million students learn about technology, in order to embrace the opportunities offered by digital transformation.
Cisco’s Networking Academy has become the world’s largest technology classroom because we foresaw that the investment in technology would outpace the skills to turn it into a business advantage. That’s why the Networking Academy courses deliver more than technical mastery. They also focus on creating problem solvers who innovate as technologists and think as entrepreneurs.
A key part of my role is to think ahead, so that our products and services evolve to meet customers’ future needs. I’m always looking for insight about what the future may hold. The Future of Jobs report describes an ever-changing skills landscape. It says that more than a third of the core skills of most occupations will require skills that are not considered crucial to the job today. This means that people not only need be digitally skilled, but also reskilled as each new digital disruption arrives. Clearly, reskilling is something that every business should have high on its agenda.
And this is something we considered when Cisco started our Networking Academy. We needed to create an environment that inspires people – especially those with no IT experience - to embrace a digital future. My colleague Sarah Eccleston, Head of Technology Architecture, Cisco UK & Ireland, talks about how Cisco’s Networking Academy is doing just that in this video.
Governments all over the world are making filling the skills gap a strategic priority. For example:
- The UK Government’s ‘Skills Manifesto’, launched recently, commits to encouraging an additional 250,000 people to develop digital skills by going through Cisco’s Networking Academy programmes.
- To assist in fulfilling government priorities in Germany, the Networking Academy is developing a tailored course to provide 35,000 refugees with technology skills to aid integration and help fill Germany’s IT skills gap.
- In Saudi Arabia, the Networking Academy curriculum is expanding employment options for women and helping advance their careers through digital skills development.
- And, in Italy, the government is using Cisco’s Networking Academy to develop specific local training around Digitization/IoT, cybersecurity and Industry 4.0.
Reskilling will separate those countries and companies that embrace a fast-changing world of digital transformation and those that are not. The Digital Vortex Study predicts 4 in 10 traditional businesses will be displaced in the next 5 years by companies who have the people to make digital transformation pay.
So, don’t get caught in the digital skills gap. Ask yourself: What is my reskilling challenge and how can I solve it?