As we enter into a new year the growing ICT skills gap in South Africa is never far away from my mind. Cisco, together with our partners, continues to work to identify opportunities to equip young South Africans, with the IT skills that will help them to ultimately contribute to South Africa’s economy, GDP growth and employment.
At the end of last year, I had the untold honour and privilege of hosting a Cisco Global Talent Acceleration Program (GTAP) graduation ceremony in Johannesburg. The event saw yet another group of dynamic, enthusiastic individuals celebrate the success and achievement of having successfully completed the program and being provided with the opportunity for better career prospects they may otherwise not have had.
The GTAP programme is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry and delegates are professionals recruited or nominated by Cisco partners and customers. Despite the selection process being rigorous and the training even more so, a total of 287 delegates have been recruited and 233 CCIE Written Certified since its conception in 2008. A total of 785 Cisco Technical Certifications have also been achieved.
These numbers may seem small but every individual trained will help make a difference. Once selected, our GTAP delegates invest months of rigorous training to improve their ICT skills and achieve excellence, qualifying as network consulting engineers, project managers, customer support engineers, system engineers, and account managers, and emerging into employment.
The fact that these young South Africans are now empowered to begin the journey to realise their full potential in the workplace, coupled with the fact that the South African ICT sector will also benefit from a new group of highly skilled and enthusiastic professionals, is a testament to the importance of enterprise support for skills development.
We are enormously proud that Cisco, in collaboration with our partner and customer network, is able to do its part to change lives through the GTAP programme. GTAP graduates have gone on to build promising careers, something they believe would not have been possible without their participation in the programme. The course was tough, they tell us, but the smallest bit of hope for the future gives people the ability to overcome the toughest challenges.
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