The skills crisis has left the channel so strapped for qualified staff that networking giant Cisco is bridging the gap by skilling up inmates and helping them find employment.
Cisco has expanded its Networking Academy Programme to include support for offenders when leaving prison and entering full time work.
Cisco estimates that the UK alone is lacking 61,000 properly qualified employees, with close to 600,000 across Europe. The vendor claims the demand for skilled data and network cabling installers outstrips supply by at least 20 per cent.
The new work placement service for inmates which have completed the Academy’s training in data cabling and network installation, was kicked off at HMP Wandsworth last week.
Scot Gardner, director of public sector for Cisco UK and Ireland, said: “The Academy is now a full end-to-end service and helps place inmates in employment when they are released from prison.
“Many have been employed by Cisco’s partners. Some partners are struggling to find skilled staff this programme helps the offender not to re-offend and helps our partners to find the staff that they need.”
Mike Lawrence, managing director of VAR BentPenny, said: “This is a splendid scheme. Under 25s with training are hard to find.
“Not only does this help the reseller find much needed staff, it plugs the skills gap and gives the offender a real chance to get on. You have to give something in life to get something back.”
Peter Titmus, managing director of
First, said: “I certainly do not think it is a bad idea to get
people back in meaningful work, although a lot of companies insist on background security checks before people are allowed on site.”
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