Furthering its goal to develop homegrown technical skills through education initiatives, Cisco today announced the launch of its Global Talent Acceleration Program (GTAP) facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. As part of an ongoing investment in the region, GTAP is a long-term Cisco initiative aimed at developing next-generation local network consulting engineers (NCEs) for the company.
The Johannesburg facility is the second GTAP initiative to be launched in emerging countries, following on from the launch of the first facility in Amman, Jordan in November last year and will eventually act as a hub for Africa.
South Africa is experiencing tremendous IT growth, particularly in information, communication technology (ICT). For example, according to reports there will be at least 115 000 additional IT jobs required to meet requirements for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Therefore, finding the right talent to support this growth is becoming a critical challenge for governments and organisations alike. Instead of importing talent from other regions on a temporary basis, GTAP helps Cisco to provide customers with a long-term solution in the form of a highly skilled and well trained local work force. As a result, the skills edge that GTAP provides is a contribution to the local knowledge infrastructures that are critical for accelerating and sustaining economic growth.
Through the GTAP Program in South Africa, Cisco aims to employ and train South African based recruits at the professional and associate levels.
Selected students will be put through a rigorous program that combines theory, industry exposure and hands-on experience. Within the next 12 to 18 months, the GTAP facility will expand in three significant directions. A professional track will be added that will draw in students with, typically, three to five years' work experience. Additionally, Cisco partners will have the opportunity to put their own staff through GTAP. Thirdly, students will be recruited to the Johannesburg facility from a range of countries in Emerging Africa, effectively positioning South Africa as a technology leader in the region.
Partnering locally with the best Of breed to provide exemplary training
Torque IT, a Cisco partner in South Africa is one of the first companies signed up to host and manage the program training facility at its premises in Johannesburg.
The GTAP Program is a core part of Cisco's strategy to be a truly global company through the creation of new business models and the acceleration of local talent networks. GTAP has particular relevance in emerging countries, where there is a need to train and transition staff into services delivery. It is a profoundly sustainable program, which is reflected in the way it has been designed and structured. The students already receive a salary and go through the training in relatively small groups of 16 people. This enables GTAP to put strong emphasis on technical and professional training, mentorship as well as on the job training.
Entry- or associate-level candidates for the program are typically recent college graduates and mid- or professional-level students who have significant prior experience with Cisco networking. After the completion of training, students will generally make the transition to full-time employment with Cisco Advanced Services as NCEs, working out of Cisco's regional service delivery hub.
"The Global Talent Acceleration Program embodies Cisco's commitment to being a reliable and long term member of the South African community. It builds on investments Cisco has already made and further deepens Cisco's commitment to the long-term prosperity of the country," said Mark Baptiste, director of Services for Cisco in South Africa.
"This new initiative marks a significant step forward in Cisco's service-delivery capability. With the availability of local skilled staff, Cisco will be able to provide its South African customers and partners with improved direct support. Furthermore, local network professionals will help meet regulatory targets and reduce the costs previously incurred in flying in global talent into the region," Baptiste concluded.