News Release

Cisco Selects South Africa as Launch Pad for Global Talent Acceleration Program in Emerging Africa

Investment Initiative Designed To Eventually Support Emerging African Governments and Organisations In Addressing the IT Skills Shortfall
Mar 17, 2008


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 17, 2008 - Furthering its goal to develop homegrown technical skills through education initiatives, Cisco® has announced the launch of its Global Talent Acceleration Program (GTAP) facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. Part of an ongoing investment in the region, GTAP is a long-term Cisco initiative aimed at developing local 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 the establishment of a facility in Amman, Jordan in November of last year. It will eventually act as a 'hub' for emerging Africa.

The entire African region is experiencing tremendous growth in Information Technology (IT) and people are the heart of the boom. 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. The skills that GTAP provides to its graduates contribute to the local knowledge infrastructures that are critical for accelerating and sustaining economic growth.

"Demand for technical talent has undoubtedly exceeded supply in emerging Africa," said Phil Wolfenden, senior director of Cisco Advanced Services in emerging markets "The launch of the Global Talent Acceleration Program in South Africa furthers our commitment to support governments in addressing the shortfall. Our belief is that local or near-shore employees are best suited to understand and address the business requirements of their native regions."

Initially, the focus will be on South Africa where 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 twelve to eighteen months (or sooner), the GTAP facility will expand in three significant directions. First a professional track will be added that will draw in students with, typically, three to five years' work experience. Next, Cisco partners will have the opportunity to put their own staff through GTAP. Finally, 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.

Wolfenden added, "Our investment will help foster a climate of confidence in which business and government leaders can commit to major new projects."

Working With Best-in-Class Companies To Provide Exemplary Training

Torque IT, a strategic 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 in 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 a 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 Network Consulting Engineers (NCE's), working out of Cisco's regional service-delivery hub.

"The Global Talent Acceleration Program is a proof point of Cisco's culture as a corporation that acts responsibly to the people and countries where it operates," said John Livingston, director, business development, Cisco. "With the availability of skilled local staff, Cisco will be able to provide its 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."