Cisco has pledged its commitment to training the next generation of IT workers with a new apprenticeship scheme due to launch this summer.
Phil Smith, Cisco's UK and Ireland chief executive, announced the Cisco Degree Apprenticeship programme yesterday in a post on LinkedIn, describing it as an "innovative collaboration between Cisco, apprenticeship training providers and higher education".
"This blend of skills development and study will support the future talent we need, while giving our apprentices the experience-based learning they enjoy alongside the university qualifications they aspire to achieve," he said.
News of the programme comes a week after Cisco's CTO, Zorawar Biri Singh, said the skills gap "is going to get harder before it gets easier".
These thoughts were echoed by Smith (pictured) who said sourcing the right talent has never been harder than in today's market.
"The challenge of finding individuals with the right skills and talent is greater than ever," he said. "Our industry is now so broad that it requires a similarly diverse mix of talent to take it forward.
"The Tech Partnership published an analysis of tech jobs recently and predicted 1.7 million new tech roles will be created over the next 10 years. In our ever-changing nation, we will need people with a mix of skills to do jobs that have not even been considered yet."
Investing in the future
This is not the first time Cisco has launched an apprenticeship programme in the UK, with it unveiling a networking scheme in conjunction with the National Apprenticeship Service in 2013.
Smith said Cisco's training programmes are part of its countrywide-digitisation efforts.
This digitisation programme saw Cisco pledge $1bn (£706.5m) of investment in the UK economy last year.
Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO, told CRN earlier this month that this investment supports the channel by helping to produce new talent.
"When you look at these investments in these countries, and the UK in particular, a significant amount is spent on education, creating skills and workers that fundamentally can be employees of the partner community over time," he said.
Cisco's announcement comes as industry body CompTIA also launched what it claims is the first-ever vendor-neutral online IT apprenticeship hub today.
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