News Release

Cisco Networking Academy and GBM Help Create Opportunities for Young Bahrainis with Special Needs

50 Special Needs Students to be Trained in IT Skills through Cisco's Networking Academy
Apr 28, 2009

MANAMA, Bahrain, April 28, 2009 - The Cisco Networking Academy®, in collaboration with Gulf Business Machines (GBM) and the Bahrain Training Institute (BTI), are helping create opportunities for 50 Bahraini students with special needs by providing Internet Technology (IT) skills to prepare them for entry-level IT positions in various fields. The announcement was made following a meeting between Hanan Kamal, Undersecretary, Minister of Social Development, and Duncan Mitchell, senior vice president at Cisco, emerging markets.

  • Students enrolled in the program will participate in a three-month comprehensive e-learning program which integrates face-to-face teaching with a web-based curriculum, online assessment tools, and hands-on laboratory exercises.
  • The program provides students with in-depth exposure to computer hardware and operating systems, which will allow them to pursue higher education in engineering, computer science, and related fields, as well as help secure IT jobs in the kingdom. Further, the top performing students will be trained as Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA).
  • The Cisco Networking Academy continues to strengthen and grow IT skills in Bahrain. The first Cisco Networking Academy in Bahrain started in 2001. Today, there are 11 academies across the kingdom with approximately 600 students currently enrolled in the program. The number of students is expected to grow 84 percent year-over-year in 2009.
  • With 45 percent of the enrolled students being female, Cisco Networking Academy has also been highly effective in bridging the digital 'gender' gap in the Kingdom. Empowering women with technical knowledge and networking skills which are in extremely high demand will promote more opportunities for women in the job market.

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  • Cesare Cardone, CEO, GBM
  • "GBM is committed to giving back to the community to help improve the lives of people in meaningful ways. We have lived and worked in Bahrain for more than 20 years and are proud to play a significant role in the training of 50 Bahraini nationals with special needs, giving them the necessary IT skills to compete in today's highly competitive job market."

  • Hameed Saleh, Director General, Bahrain Training Institute
  • "Over the years, BTI has been focused on creating programs that cater to people with special needs helping them play a bigger role in society. Our programs have traditionally included Art and Design and today, we are proud to announce we have extended our efforts to include technology enablement as well."

  • Fadel Rabea, Deputy Director General Training, Bahrain Training Institute
  • "BTI has always been keen on running high value-added training programs through international partners like Cisco. Through the Cisco Networking Academy, this training will help equip students with special needs with the necessary IT skills to help open the doors so they can excel in a highly competitive job market that is increasingly technology dependant."

  • Tarek Ghoul, General Manager, Cisco Gulf North
  • "Increasing the knowledge and skills of the local population will help to grow the talent pool available to Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies throughout the region, as well as contribute to national competitiveness. This in turn paves the way for new e-learning initiatives that can act as a catalyst in the country's ambitious growth and development plans."

    "Cisco has a long history of using its expertise and knowledge to benefit the local community, and we are proud to undertake such initiatives in Bahrain with the support of the government, GBM and BTI. We look forward to making additional strides in the near future."

About Gulf Business Machines

With roots stretching back more than 19 years, the Gulf Business Machines' companies (GBM) are IBM's Sole Distributors, in the GCC with the exception of Saudi Arabia. A branch in Karachi, Pakistan opened in January 2007 with IBM Premier Partner status, and branches in Lahore and Islamabad followed. As one of the largest locally situated IT solutions and service providers, GBM satisfies the technology requirements of local, regional and international businesses and governments. The company's comprehensive portfolio of IT solutions and services also includes the offerings of a range of international business partners, including Cisco Systems with whom GBM has enjoyed since 2003 Gold Partner status throughout the region, and now also Learning Partner status. The company offers award winning, globally acclaimed solutions and the security of a strong regional presence, extensive reach and unrivalled market knowledge. GBM is the recipient of the prestigious Dubai Quality Appreciation Award from the Government of Dubai, and has won Best System Integrator at the Network Middle East awards for the past three years. Further information is available at

About Cisco Networking Academy

Launched in 1997, Cisco Networking Academy is a collaboration among Cisco, education, business, government and community organizations around the world, aimed at nurturing IT professionals. The program employs an e-learning model, using a combination of Web-based and instructor-led training along with a hands-on lab environment to teach students how to design, build and maintain computer networks. Worldwide, more than 2.5 million students have graduated from a total of approximately 9,000 academies in 162 countries.