It was great to join the Global Citizen Now! Event in Melbourne earlier this month which featured a range of innovators dedicated to ending poverty. The event featured 350 inspiring youth leaders from around the world, including the brightest minds, influential decision makers, and the biggest names in pop culture to create a global agenda for urgent action. The summit is about more than talking about the world’s biggest challenges, it is about taking action to solve them.

I appreciated the chance to meet with, and hear from, many inspiring youth leaders and how they are making the world a better place. And, there are some impressive people out there. I was inspired by the leadership being shown in a diverse range of areas.

At the summit, I had the chance to discuss the opportunity that education enables as an equalizer, but also recognise how access can be a barrier to enabling people to accessing quality education. Through Cisco’s Digital Readiness Index, we know that not everyone is ready to leverage the opportunities of digitisation. In fact, Australia has declined over the years and there is a discrepancy at the state and territory level. And regionally, only three countries out of the Asia Pacific are counted in the top 10 countries for digital readiness.

Education opportunities are not only important for individuals or communities, it’s also good business. 60%-80% of Asia-Pacific organisations experiencing an IT skills shortage. We need more people in the field and this is becoming a more critical issue.

In meeting with Jesse Fleay, an academic who facilitated the discussion, I learned more about the opportunities that education can enable for those in our most remote communities. Some examples of Cisco’s work to provide opportunities includes projects like the Digital Skills Hub in Fiji, in which we are setting up a hub to offer connectivity in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific, and Telcom Fiji. It will mean up to 30,000 students can access the hub as required, aiming to bridge the digital divide.

The Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco is proud to have a 25-year education program known as Networking Academy which provides students with learning modules that are applicable in tech roles. Spanning a range of topics it includes the most technical elements like CCIE and cybersecurity, all the way through to professionals skills courses including the recently launched entrepreneurship course. In the last 25 years, we’ve trained more than 20 million learners, and 95% of students have said these courses have helped get them a job or opportunity.

These programs make a difference to many communities and organisations,
and it’s one of the elements our employees are most proud of.

Students like Tully in Yaas have taken their knowledge in their stride and used it to uplift the people around them by teaching them about technology fundamentals. I also had a chance to reconnect with Noor who was part of the FIFA women’s world cup networking academy dream team, who helped to set up the tech for the big event.

Thank you to Global Citizen for having Cisco as part of it. It was great to speak about some of the work Cisco is doing to create transformative education opportunities through our Networking Academy, but I also learned so much about the global citizens around us and walked away inspired by their passion and leadership.