• Start IT – Cisco4Ukraine is a program for people from Ukraine who want to develop their digital skills, reskill, or upskill.
  • The program aims at training 10,000 people over the next 2 years.
  • Start IT is part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program in Poland.

Rzeszów, POLAND – Feb 1st, 2023 – Cisco Networking Academy, together with its education partner, the University of Information Technology and Management (UITM) in Rzeszów, launched today the Start IT – Cisco4Ukraine program. It has been designed for Ukrainian refugees who want to build digital skills.

StartIT – Cisco4Ukraine offers learning pathways in two areas: Cybersecurity and Programming – and will soon be expanded with two more: Data Analysis and Networking. The courses are delivered in Ukrainian.

Start IT supports Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program in Poland. CDA is a long-term strategic partnership with national and regional leadership, industry and academia to help accelerate the national digitization agenda and create new value for the country, its businesses and its citizens. Cisco CDA operates in over 40 countries around the globe and has recently been launched in Poland.

“Our CDA program in Poland is built on 3 key pillars: bolstering national cybersecurity, digital transformation of key industries, and developing digital skills. We strongly believe that launching the Start IT program, on top of existing Cisco Networking Academy initiatives, will help create a talent pool with the right digital skills needed for digital transformation” – said Guy Diedrich, SVP and Global Innovation Officer at Cisco.

Start IT – Cisco4Ukraine: from entry to advanced level courses

At entry level, the program is for those learners who are only starting to explore the tech field or want to enter a career path where basic digital competences are essential. At advanced level, the program is aimed at IT professionals with existing qualifications and can help them obtain new certifications.

The purpose of Start IT is to build basic skills and cybersecurity awareness, as well as to develop digital competences and enable a career in the IT sector. New opportunities for professional development are especially important for Ukrainian women who had to give up their work back home and are looking for suitable employment – said Przemysław Kania, Cisco Poland General Manager. “Additionally, to support the Start IT program, Cisco Customer Experience team launched the Platform of Opportunity, offering Start IT graduates a chance to apply for a two-year apprenticeship with Cisco.”

We are currently completing the Start IT – Cisco4Ukraine pilot training, which took place from September 2022 to January 2023. Its aim was to gather experience and adapt the training offer to the market needs and capabilities of the learners. So far, as part of the pilot, we have more than 700 participants” – said prof. Tadeusz Pomianek, President of UITM. “It is important that through this program we can support the process of developing skills for the workforce of independent Ukraine. We can see that the learners are enthusiastic about the program and many said it changed their life”.

The program is available for free at all levels through the Skills For All platform, and aims at training 10,000 people as part of Cisco Networking Academy’s latest pledge in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Cisco Networking Academy aims to provide digital and cybersecurity skills training to 25 million people over the next 10 years around the globe, to position them for in-demand jobs and help fill the IT skills gap. To date, over 17,5 million global learners have taken Cisco Networking Academy courses to gain digital skills, including over 310,000 in Poland. In a survey, 95% of students who have taken Cisco certification aligned courses have attributed obtaining a job or education opportunity to Cisco Networking Academy.

Cisco Networking Academy is one of the longest-standing IT skills-to-jobs programs in the world. It provides high-quality IT and cybersecurity courses, learning simulators, and hands-on learning opportunities via a learning platform to support instructors and engage learners in 190 countries. Through its ecosystem of partners, the program has also reached communities that would otherwise find it difficult to acquire new competences or even be at risk of digital exclusion.


About UITM

The University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów is the largest non-public university in the Subcarpathian Region of Poland. In October 2022, over 6,500 students, including over 2,100 foreigners, started their studies and post-graduate studies at UITM in 16 fields.

In 2000, the first Cisco Networking Academy in Poland was established at UITM and soon became the second largest Cisco Networking Academy in Europe. In 2003, as the first educational institution in Poland, UITM obtained the status of Cisco Academy Training Center, overseeing over 500 Cisco Networking Academies operating in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Czechia. In 2018, UITM received the award for the best Partner in the Cisco Networking Academy program in the region. This prestigious distinction has been awarded to only three educational institutions in Europe. Last year, UITM launched a new specialization as part of the Computer Science Studies – Programming with Cybersecurity Elements – co-developed with Cisco.


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