Why is the global workforce not prepared for the digital future?

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The next twenty years represent the greatest technological expansion and most powerful digital disruption we’ve ever seen, but there are warnings that the workforce here in the UK and internationally does not have the skills required to meet the needs of the next two decades.

Technology trends like the application of Artificial Intelligence, the industrialisation of cybercrime, and the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things are already having a radical impact on businesses and our everyday working lives.

It is estimated that even by 2020, 90% of all jobs will require digital skills, even in those economic sectors not traditionally associated with digitisation such as farming, healthcare, and construction. And experts believe that more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial today.

Although many sectors are adopting new technologies the pace of change is accelerating rapidly. By 2030 over 500 billion devices and objects will be connected and global IP traffic will be three times greater; digital transformation means that data is the most strategic asset.

It is vital, more than ever, to promote diversity in the tech field and provide unique learning opportunities to students of all backgrounds. In the Cisco Networking Academy today 24% of students globally are female. In several developing regions including Latin America and Africa, female enrolment is well above the global enrolment average.

Cisco has been training and developing the world’s best IT professionals for twenty years through their largest corporate social responsibility program and has made $2.6 billion in in-kind contributions of tools, resources, and support to students, schools, and instructors worldwide. Its networking academy has helped 7.8 million people in 180 countries develop the skills needed to address this constant transition in technologies.

Unless businesses focus on providing a greater number of today’s workforce with enhanced digital skills, companies and individuals risk being displaced.

The curriculum

Curriculum and training for the network’s more than 22,000 instructors is provided free of charge to academy partners, which includes high schools, colleges, universities, and other non-profit community organisations.

The Networking Academy curriculum is designed to provide a blended learning experience that meets these changing student and employer needs. It is constantly evolving based on feedback captured from students at Emerging Tech Workshops which are organised in partnership with Cisco DevNet.

This blended approach means that students receive real-world experience and learn by doing, problem-solving and collaborating on projects. Managed by a fully featured Learning Management System, the curriculum is delivered by a cloud platform that can scale to meet the needs of millions of connected students and instructors. Courses are available in over 20 languages.

Cisco’s Networking Academy provides students with a three-level approach to learning the digital skills needed in a digitally transformed world.

  • Level 1: Provides self-paced Exploratory courses that encourage and inspires students of all types (even those with no IT experience) to consider a technology career by observing or listening to experts. These include topics such as: An introduction to Cybersecurity; An Introduction to IoT; Getting Connected and Be Your Own Boss
  • Level 2: Provides blended learning Foundational courses (many of which align to certification) that prepare students for a technology career by engaging in an instructional environment. These include topics like: IT Essentials; Cybersecurity Essentials; Networking Essentials; IoT Fundamentals
  • Level 3: Provides Career-ready courses that enable students to step into a technology career by learning by doing. These include: Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCNET), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), CCNA Cyber Ops; NDG Linux I and II.

To drive collaboration, Foundational and Career-Ready levels also include access to interactive tools like Cisco’s Packet Tracer, as well as Hackathons and internships.

Main image credit: Lori Deiter

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