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Cisco Networking Academy Marks 10-Year Anniversary with Celebration in Toronto


Unique Initiative Advances Canadian IT Education to Help Increase Supply of Qualified Technology Workers

TORONTO.- Cisco® Canada today marked the 10th anniversary of the Cisco Networking Academy® with an event in Toronto to recognize the impact of the program and to build momentum for the future. Over the past decade, the Networking Academy has demonstrated global success in providing students of all ages and from all walks of life with critical information technology (IT) and networking skills, leading to advanced academic exploration and career development. In Canada, more than 60,000 students have graduated from nearly 300 local academies, going on to become business analysts, systems engineers, architects and more.

Cisco Canada held a panel discussion at its Toronto headquarters to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Networking Academy. The panel explored the current IT skills shortage in Canada and the ways that technology training and education can help bridge this gap. According to the Information and Communications Technology Council, there is a considerable gap between the number of new hires needed each year and the number of graduates coming out of Canadian post-secondary schools. Currently the Canadian IT sector requires 35,000 new hires annually to keep up with demand, but approximately only 7,000 students graduate each year with training in computer science and computer engineering.

Cisco Networking Academy is helping to address the labour shortage, providing graduates around the world with in-demand IT skills and advancing their education to potentially aid in the development of their countries and local economies. Pam Baldaro, an IT instructor at West Kildonan, said, “Employers recognize the importance of a potential job candidate having experience with technology. Even if a student doesn’t want to pursue a career in IT, having that knowledge base is critical in today’s job market. Students who enroll in Cisco Networking Academy have a competitive advantage.”

Moderated by IT World Canada’s editorial director, John Pickett, today’s panel consisted of Mauro Lollo, co-founder and chief technology officer, UNIS LUMIN; Sebastien Ruest, vice president, services research, IDC Canada; Paul Swinwood, president, Information and Communications Technology Council; Robert Wager, Program Coordinator for Experiential Learning, Toronto District School Board; Pam Baldaro, Cisco Networking Academy instructor, West Kildonan Collegiate; and Kayla Savard, Cisco Networking Academy alumna, West Kildonan Collegiate.

“This is a very exciting time as we witness the increasing power of the Internet to change the way we work, live, play and learn,” said Anne Miller, Canadian education marketing manager for Cisco Canada. “With its innovative online curriculum, Cisco Networking Academy is at the forefront of this transformation, and we couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Savard, the former Networking Academy student, said, “My Cisco Networking Academy courses were all very challenging, but I was determined to persevere and obtain a dual diploma in IT. I feel that the IT skills I gained will help kick-start my career. I’m honoured to be part of today’s 10th anniversary celebration because I know many more students will continue to benefit from this program.”

The Networking Academy is one example of Cisco’s focus on, and investment in, education programs that have benefited people seeking opportunities to advance in life. The program’s success stems from partnering with educational, business, government and nonprofit organizations. Together through the Networking Academy, these partners deliver the knowledge and training needed to grow the global IT workforce and encourage socioeconomic development in communities around the world.

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