Cisco invests $21m in STEM

Cisco Systems Australia has announced a five-year investment program expanding to train over 100,000 Australian tertiary and school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills.
AUSTEM 2020 is a new program, which builds on Cisco Australia’s long-term commitment to tackle the STEM skills shortage and help create an innovation economy, boost productivity and boost jobs growth
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Medianet.

The press release also states that Cisco’s AUSTEM 2020 program consists of:

  • A $21 million projected investment in the Cisco Networking Academy® program over five years to train some 100,000 students via public-partnerships with not-for-profit higher education providers and schools in industry relevant, job-ready technology skills.
  • 5,000 students connected to STEM career and job opportunities by 2020 through the Find Yourself in the Future program to be offered to Cisco® Networking Academy students, who are coming up to the final stages of studies and making plans for entry into the job market.
  • AUS2020 mentoring commitment that will see 20 per cent of Cisco Australia staff providing 20 hours of mentoring to existing and prospective tertiary education and school STEM students, totalling some 5,000 mentoring hours per year.

The announcement of this new initiative arrives only a couple of weeks after an article that posed the question about whether network training will soon diminish in importance.

It will be fascinating to see how this plays out in terms of the content being delivered by the Cisco Networking Academy. Will the AUSTEM 2020 program deliver highly network-centric content to these 100,000 students in Australia and will the number of Network Engineer roles be diminishing within five years as pondered in the link above? Or will the training evolve to align with the more service-centric business model that Cisco is shifting to? Clearly, this major shift in Cisco’s business model (as well as technology r-evolution) will require a whole new way of thinking and hence new resources to carry out the new method of operation. I wonder how many of the 100,000 students will become active advocates of Cisco and promote Cisco products/services?

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