Cisco University outreach program seeks to inspire UAE youth
Company executives engage with students on digital transformation, connected technologies
Cisco is conducting a university outreach program in the UAE to help prepare the next generation workforce and instil in the youth the skills suited for the future.
The program is fully inclusive and gives particular attention to students located in the more remote areas of the UAE.
As part of the ongoing program, Cisco held a ‘Technology Day’ for students at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain and took part in a panel mentoring session at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). More than 100 students attended each event, where Cisco Executives engaged with students on the topic of digital transformation and the impacts of the mass adoption of connected digital technologies and applications. The sessions also addressed technology transformation for the enterprise of tomorrow and provided general post-university career guidance in technology-related fields.
“As Gulf countries accelerate their digitisation and continue to drive their economic diversification efforts, the region is also posting one of the world’s fastest growing skills gap in IT and networking positions,” said Mike Weston, Vice President, Cisco Middle East. “The Internet of Everything (IoE) will generate unparalleled demand for skilled workers and opportunities for creative, tech-savvy people everywhere. Cisco is committed to developing talent locally through our Networking Academies and other programs that work closely with local schools, universities and government organisations to train and enable students to compete and thrive in the current and future job market.”
At the event held in UAE University, Cisco’s technology experts and thought leaders shared insights into some of the latest technology trends, updated participants on product innovations and road-maps, shared best practices, held live hands-on demos, networked with students and answered questions. The Cisco Technology day also covered technical sessions in Cisco’s core architectures, including Enterprise Networks, Security, Data Centre and Collaboration.
Cisco also participated in a panel mentoring session at the American University of Sharjah, where Victoria Lee, Transformational Solutions Leader for Cisco UAE, Oman and Kuwait, spoke to students in the field of engineering and computer science alongside other panellists from IBM, Google and the Emirates Digital Women Association. Ashley Woodbridge, Cisco UAE’s Chief Solutions Architect, and other Cisco executives shared insights with AUS engineering students on the digital revolution, highlighting the importance of young talent driving the UAE to the forefront of technology adoption. Students were also advised on how they can spur innovation to help solve problems based on the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) to support the UAE’s vision for the future.
Speaking on the events, Victoria Lee said “The skills gap, particularly in the ICT field, continues to be a top government priority in the Gulf region. When it comes to women, their participation in the regional workforce continue to lag behind other areas of the world, despite the fact that women in the GCC are highly ambitious and value their careers. Programs such as ours seek to help by providing guidance and mentorship. Its not just about giving back to the community - everyone stands to benefit by supporting the development of pathways from education into employment and preparing the workforce of tomorrow.”
The free training that Cisco Academies in universities, schools, NGOs, government entities, vocational colleges, and qualified training academies offer communities throughout the region, is supporting job creation and economic growth by building ICT skills and talent within the workforce as well as providing greater access to capital and to educational opportunities.
Cisco Networking Academy, a Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility program, is an IT skills and career building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide. Cisco’s largest CSR program, Cisco Networking Academy identifies and develops the skills people and businesses need to thrive in a changing economy. Cisco Networking Academy works with educators, employers, and technology experts to create courses that prepare students for the future. More than 5.5 million people have joined the Networking Academy and become a force for change in the global economy since 1997.
In the Middle East, the program boasts of 478 active academies across 14 countries with more than 44,000 active students and over 1000 instructors - with an average female student participation rate of 37%. Over 220,000 students have graduated from the program in the region since its inception.