Cisco Networking Academy

Brief: 
  • Cisco Networking Academy is a global education programme that teaches students how to design, build, troubleshoot and secure computer networks for increased access to career and economic opportunities in communities around the world. Networking Academy provides online courses, interactive tools, and hands-on learning activities to help individuals prepare for ICT (information communication and technology) and networking careers in virtually every type of industry.
  • When one of Cisco’s top customers in the Philippines faced a shortage of personnel to manage its infrastructure, the Cisco Philippines team began exploring opportunities to help Cisco Networking Academy graduates develop the career skills and experience needed to fill this demand.
The problem addressed by the campaign: 

Liberty Broadcasting Network Inc. (LBNI), a multimillion-dollar client of Cisco, discovered that its wireless networking service provider brand, wi-tribe, needed additional network engineers.

Solution: 
  • The Cisco Philippines team helped Cisco Networking Academy graduates develop the career skills and experience needed to fill wi-tribe’s demand for network engineers.
  • Cisco and LBNI developed a targeted cadetship programme and invited Networking Academy graduates to submit their applications.
  • The response was overwhelming, with more than 250 graduates submitting their resumes. Forty candidates were short-listed, and 19 participants were selected based on their communication and networking skills and their ability to work well under pressure.
  • Although the graduates possessed many of the skills required by wi-tribe, they lacked some specialized knowledge required to excel in the position. To help ensure an ideal fit between the capabilities of the candidates and the skills needed by wi-tribe, the 19 participating graduates attended an intensive, two-month boot camp at the end of 2009.
Impact: 
  • At the end of the CISCO boot camp, the participants helped advance wi-tribe’s technological and business goals, while gaining valuable experience in wireless technologies. Fifteen were hired as shift engineers in LBNI’s operations team and are performing well.
  • Gretch Santos, Head of Human Resources at LBNI stated: “We are impressed with the quality of graduates that Cisco Networking Academy produces. We were able to employ 15 of its graduates, which shows how good their training is.”
Why has it worked?: 
  • Networking Academy courses are delivered in multiple languages through an online learning system. Courses are sup­ported by classroom instruction, hands-on learning activities, network simulations, and online assessments that provide personalized feedback. Networking Academy instructors receive extensive training and support to help ensure a consistently enriching and up-to-date learning experience for students around the world.
  • This comprehensive approach helped top graduates find a fitting workplace where they get to apply the intensive training and knowledge gained from the internship program.
Conclusions and Recommendations: 
  • Private companies must collaborate to bridge the skills gap and advance the IT industry as a whole. Cisco partners with public and private institutions such as schools, universities, businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations to develop and deliver training courses. These courses can be supplemented by tightly focused training programs to fill more specific company needs.
  • The use of online courses and interactive tools will improve the effectiveness and accessibility of training programs. This has allowed the Networking Academy to grow and extend career opportunities to students around the globe.
Foundational Issues: 
Widespread unemployability
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 1: Collaboration within the organization
Region: 
Asia
Economic and political context: 
  • Networking Academy’s global partners include: International Telecommunications Union, UN Development Program, UN Development Fund for Women, UN Volunteers, UNESCO, USAID, President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Panduit, SIGMAnet, and Network Development Group.
  • Students are trained for the following industry certifications: Comp TIA A+, Cisco CCENT, Cisco CCNA, Cisco CCNP, and Cisco CCNA Security.
About the Author(s): 
  • More than 85% of Fortune 500 companies use Cisco for communications services, including enterprise telephony, unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, and enterprise instant messaging.
  • As Cisco’s largest corporate social responsibility programme, Networking Academy aims to improve socioeconomic conditions in communities around the world by increasing access to education and career opportunities, supporting the development of an educated ICT workforce, and promoting the growth of the ICT industry.