Cisco wants to close digital skills gap through education

Cisco has laid out its plans to help close the UK's digital skills gap with an ambitious new training program. 

The networking giant has announced plans to train 250,000 people in digital skills by 2020 at its Cisco Networking Academy. The Academy, which celebrates its 20th year and has helped more than 240,000 students in the UK, will work with education, government, industry and communities to skill or retrain people across the UK.

“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.

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

As part of the pledge, there will be two initiatives: providing support for the teaching of Computing in Schools, and making digital skills training accessible through Libraries.

First, there's the Computing for Schools programme, providing teachers with training and resources to help them deliver the computing curriculum. 

As for UK libraries, Manchester's 22 libraries will be among the first to have free access to courses that range from the basics of getting online, to providing an introduction to the Internet of Things and cybersecurity. Other cities to follow in 2018.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said he was ‘delighted’ about Cisco’s initiative. "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."

Image Credit: Flickr / Prayitno