Cisco Sets Ambitious Goal to Train EMEA IT Workers

Cisco want to train 25 million new IT workers worldwide, including 10 million in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

On Feb. 7, computer networking colossus Cisco issued a press release that introduced and explained an upcoming initiative in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) to train up 10 million people over the next 10 years. It’s a part of Cisco’s broader global skills initiative that sets its total target at 25 million people over the same timeframe.

According to the release, this program is built around the Cisco Networking Academy, which is "celebrating its 25th anniversary this year." CNA has already trained 17.5 million students in 190 countries around the world.

In the EMEA region, CNA has already trained 6.5 million students through partnersnip with 5,800 educational and other organizations that offer courses from the Networking Academy curriculum. The same program has thrived in North America (Canada, the United States, and Mexico) since its inception and is widely offered in high schools, community colleges, job training programs, and so forth.

What’s the Impetus?

Cicso cites a 2020 World Economic Forum report to explain ongoing and increasing needs for upskilling and reskilling for the digital economy. It states that, “(B)y 2025, advances in technology and automation will eliminate 85 million jobs, while creating 97 million new jobs globally.”

In other words, the need for workforce preparation training in digital skills is enormous, widespread, and increasing over time. Hence, Cisco’s stated goal is to equip students around the world and in EMEA nations in particular with the digital skills and knowledge they need to find productive, long-term employment.

Smaller Specifics, Fine Print

Cisco want to train 25 million new IT workers worldwide, including 10 million in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In addition to its ongoing Networking Academy efforts all over EMEA, in partnership with Randstad which describes itself as "the world's largest HR provider" Cisco plans to "reskill and upskill 300,000 people in cybersecurity, programming and infrastructure automation."

This offering is already up and running in Italy and Holland, with additional EMEA countries planned for inclusion in 2023. Alas, specific details on eligibility and participation don’t seem to be available just yet. That said, this kind of program is life-changing for those lucky enough to be included, and to benefit from the training and certification that’s usually involved.

Et Tu, Microsoft?

On July 30, 2021, I wrote a similar post about Microsoft for GoCertify as well. They claimed a population of more than 30 million people who have learned "new digital skills," with goals to cover 25 million more by 2025. These kinds of numbers are both truly eye-popping and a strong testament to how urgently digitally savvy workers are needed all over the world.

(The Microsoft story focused on Asia, while this one focuses on EMEA).

Indeed, the world needs many, many more such initiatives to help the billions of workers who must make themselves comfortable with and find themselves jobs in the digital economy. One can’t escape the realization that digital skills must become part of basic education around the planet.

Getting individuals invested early is essential to making the people who must do new jobs ready to fill all the open positions that will be available. Whether workers come from other fields (reskilling), build on existing knowledge (upskilling), or are embarking on their first foray into the workplace (entry-level), we need to find and engage them.

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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.