Hands-on Cisco network training is giving men and women in underdeveloped countries opportunities at employment, a recent study found, as close to two-thirds reported finding work after completing courses.
The Least Developed Countries (LDC) Independent Impact Assessment study polled about 600 students, instructors, employers and community leaders in the African nations of Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. Of the students surveyed, close to two-thirds, or 62 percent, found job opportunities following their Cisco studies and, of those, 12 percent launched their own companies after completing one or more Cisco Network Academy course.
"The study . . . found that the Cisco Networking Academy is boosting necessary IT career skills, providing critical job opportunities, promoting self-confidence in women entering the IT field and enhancing the overall education level within communities," said Ross Barker, vice president, GCR Custom Research, in a press release.
The study also showed that network training opened new doors for women in African nations. According to the results, more than 30 percent of students graduating from the Cisco Certified Network Associate courses are women. And employers agree that Cisco training provides students in underdeveloped countries with marketable job skills and improves their chances of landing employment. More than half of employers polled reported that graduates of the program have better skills than nonstudents, specifically around networking and configuration planning.
Jointly, GRC Custom Research, Cisco, the Cisco Learning Institute, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) this month released the findings of the commissioned study. The LDC Initiative was launched in July 2000 following the G-8 Summit in Okinawa as a means to address the "digital divide" that exists between developed countries and emerging markets in less developed nations.
This study was an impact assessment of the LDC Initiative in Africa and the Cisco Networking Academy Program. The Cisco Networking Academy -- launched 10 years ago and today has more than 9,500 academies worldwide -- offers classes ranging from entry-level to advanced networking and IT skills to courses preparing students for industry certifications. Cisco says more than 500,000 students enroll in courses each year.