Cisco to launch IT skills apprenticeship scheme

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COMPUTING giant Cisco is preparing to launch an apprenticeship scheme for hundreds of budding network technicians after a new report highlighted rising demand in the IT sector.

Ian Foddering, chief technology officer at Cisco UK, told The Scotsman that he will recruit “a couple of hundred” apprentices for the scheme, which will be launched later this month.

Under the programme – which comes on top of Cisco’s existing internal apprenticeship scheme, which has 18 participants – trainees will receive Cisco network associate accreditation, which Foddering said would help them to find IT jobs.

He added: “Our TechWatch report showed that recruitment and skills development is the priority for 46 per cent of large companies in the year ahead, up from just 20 per cent in 2011. Companies are finding it hard to recruit IT staff.”

His comments follow warnings from trade body ScotlandIS about the growing skills gap within the industry.

Donald McLaughlin, Cisco’s Scotland director, added that other Scottish IT firms could grow their profits by capitalising on the trends identified in the TechWatch report.

“Companies want staff to be able to access their networks from laptops and smartphones, which gives IT firms the chance to differentiate themselves and grow their profits,” he said.