Cisco initiative to help UK develop digital skills

The company is pledging to help train a further 250,000 people in the UK by 2020

Underpinned by the Cisco Networking Academy, Cisco will work with education, government, industry and communities in an effort to teach or retrain individuals from across the UK in developing the next generation of talent required for the digital economy to thrive.  

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive of Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “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.”  

Cisco’s announcement 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. 

‘Cisco is launching a programme to provide access to digital skills training in libraries across the nation.’

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:

1. 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. The course provides the tools to support development of computing and digital skills across all key stages.

2. Making digital skills training accessible through Libraries 

Cisco is launching a programme to provide access to digital skills training in libraries across the nation, beginning in Manchester, where 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. Other cities are set to introduce the programme in early 2018.