Cisco forms curriculum in support of EU’s mission to close skills gap

Cisco creates curriculum through networking academies to support EU in Grand Coalition for digital jobs

Cisco has pledged to form a curriculum for the next generation of smart grid electrical installers, to support the European Commission’s (EC) mission to address the IT skills gap across the region.

The move is in support of the EC’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, which partners with businesses that have a similar aim of closing the IT skills gap and encouraging young people to consider a career in the sector.

Last week 150 representatives from 35 European countries attended an education event at Cisco’s headquarters in London. The gathering aimed to discuss the challenges of encouraging young people to choose IT as part of their education.

At the event Andre Richier, DG enterprise and industry, European Commission said: “The challenge is not only current employability, but also to create a pool of talent to assure the European workforce of the future.

“Despite a youth unemployment rate of more than 23% across the EU, employers often struggle to find young people with the right information and communications technology skills for positions across various sectors. By 2015 the EU expects as many as 900,000 unfilled vacancies for IT professionals in the EU.”

The curriculum will be taught through the networking vendor’s Networking Academies.

Cisco launched its first academy in 1999 and now has 300 across the UK. The programmes are available to high schools, secondary schools, vocational institutions, universities and community-based organisations.

Currently 170,000 students use the academies in the UK, learning to design, build and manage secure computer networks.

Piotr Pluta, senior manager for Cisco corporate affairs Europe, said: “We firmly believe that combined efforts by the government, business and academia to train people to gain the necessary skills can combat youth unemployment and will ensure the success of the European economy and society.”

In further news the European Commission unveiled its Eramus Programme last week, to provide funding opportunities for education, training, youth and sport. Opening in January 2014 the programme is part of its Long Life Learning initiative.

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