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10 Years of Cisco Networking Academy Celebrated in Istanbul


Cisco’s Largest Give-Back Program Prepares Students for IT and Networking Careers in the 21st Century

ISTANBUL, Turkey.- Marking the 10th anniversary of Cisco® Networking Academy®, more than 500 instructors, students and delegates from Europe, the Middle East and Africa gathered in Istanbul today to learn about the latest developments of the program and share thoughts on how to prepare students for IT and networking careers in the next decade.

Demand for networking skills in Turkey alone will outstrip supply by 29 per cent in 2008 (IDC, 2005). Many countries are in a far worse position. In Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa the technical skills gaps in some countries will rise to more than 40 per cent by 2009 (IDC 2006).

The Cisco Networking Academy program trains students to design, build, and maintain computer networks. By combining hands-on work and online learning, the program helps students acquire the skills needed for IT-related jobs and for higher education in engineering, computer science and related fields - and ultimately, aid in the development of their countries and their local economies. In Turkey, there are currently 43 academies with 1,500 students.

“At the Cisco Networking Academy institutions, we are working to develop an educated pool of talent that can build and manage sustained networks in the future” said Paul Mountford, Cisco’s senior vice president of Emerging markets. “Countries are looking to diversify their economy and create significant opportunities for citizens. We are very proud to have more than 2,255 Networking Academies in Emerging markets with more than 160,000 students and 5,000 instructors”.

The International Academy Conference is hosted by Istanbul Technical University, one of Turkey’s most renowned technical universities and itself a regional Cisco Networking Academy institution.

Conference participants include Networking Academy instructors and managers of which there are approximately 10,000 in Europe, Middle East and Africa alone. They are coming together to discuss how the delivery and content of this global e-learning program are evolving to meet the needs of students in the decade to come. They will also be discussing the growing need for IT specialists.

Keynote speakers include professor Erkin Nasuf, vice president of Istanbul Technical University, Paul Mountford, senior vice president of Cisco’s emerging markets organization, Tae Yoo, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Cisco; and Nasuh Mahruki, the first Turkish person to have climbed Mount Everest and president of AKUT Arama Kurtarma Derneği, a voluntary rescue organization.

“We are pleased that Turkey has been chosen to host this conference. It is an acknowledgment of the success of the program in our country, where Cisco Networking Academy institutions have trained close to 6,000 graduates over the last seven years. We are planning to extend the curriculum to 200 technical high schools over the next five years with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Education,” said Erkan Akdemir, general manager of Cisco Turkey.

Turkey is also showcasing its own best practices during the conference. These include SPARK, a local initiative aiming to improve the level of IT expertise among youth while encouraging community spirit and collaboration. Instructors participating in the scheme are volunteers who teach networking skills to economically disadvantaged and unemployed young people free of charge. The initiative is led by Youth for Habitat, a regional academy as well as a large nongovernmental organization.

Another local initiative is Networker Factory, where unemployed people can take part in Networking Academy courses and skills-based training. Under the Networker Factory initiative, recruitment services are provided for local graduates, who are offered the option to pay back fees if and when they find a job. This initiative is led by local training partner Netron and Turkish Informatics Foundation.


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