Today, Cisco announced its goal to train 10 million people in digital and cybersecurity skills, over the next 10 years, across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
The number of people to be trained is part of Cisco’s 10-year ambition to empower 25 million people with digital skills worldwide through Cisco’s Networking Academy. This flagship program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and, so far, has reached 17.5 million students across 190 countries. Since starting operations in EMEA, it has spread to 120 countries in the region and trained over 6.3 million students, through 5,800 partnerships, with educational institutions and organizations offering Networking Academy courses.
The future of innovation, growth, and global competitiveness depends on building a strong digital economy which in turn is dependent upon a digitally skilled workforce (or something like). According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, advances in technology and automation will eliminate 85 million jobs while creating 97 million new jobs globally￼. Cisco aspires to equip millions of people around the world with the technical and digital skills required for these new jobs by empowering the workforce of the future through the Networking Academy.
“We need a global workforce equipped with digital skills to develop sustainable and secure businesses, and more equitable societies. Building a local pool of next-generation talent is critical to long-term social inclusion and economic resilience”, said Guy Diedrich, SVP and Chief Innovation Officer, Cisco. “It takes an entire ecosystem working together to achieve this. Through Cisco Networking Academy partnering with local organisations, we have impacted the lives of 17.5 million students over the past 25 years”.
Contributing to the EU’s Digital Skills Goals
By 2030, the EU aims to equip at least 80 percent of its citizens with basic digital skills and have at least 20 million information and communications technology (ICT) specialists employed. Currently, only 54 percent of Europeans aged between 16 and 74 have basic digital skills. Cisco’s announcement comes as the Union kicks off its European Year of Skills, announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in her latest State of the Union address. In the European Union, Cisco will aim to train 2.6 million people in digital and cybersecurity skills, over the next 10 years, through the Networking Academy and the diverse ecosystem of 2,882 academies on which the program relies.
“Digital skills are in short supply across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, which should be a cause for concern for all of us”, commented Wendy Mars, President of Cisco EMEA. “Without access to a strong talent pool, it will be harder to continue the digital transformation at pace. I’m proud of the achievements of the Cisco Networking Academy to date and look forward to welcoming many more skilled people from diverse backgrounds to the industry”.
To this end, Cisco is launching a partnership with Randstad, a global leader in the HR services industry, to help talent develop their digital skills, preparing them to navigate the rapidly digitizing labour market. Cisco and Randstad aim to re-skill and upskill 300,000 people in cybersecurity, programming and infrastructure automation. The partnership is currently running in The Netherlands and Italy with more countries to follow through 2023.
Chris Heutink, Randstad’s COO commented: “We are very proud to partner with Cisco to equip the talent of tomorrow with the skills they need to succeed in a fast-changing world of work. Through partnerships such as this one we are supporting talent to turn the skills they gained into opportunities, by combining skilling with access to the labour market”.