Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cisco launches Networking Academy for visually impaired students at the Royal National College for the Blind

October 29, 2014

Last month saw the launch of our first UK Networking Academy designed specifically for the visually impaired at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC). Phil Smith, Chief Executive of Cisco UK & Ireland joined us with staff and students from the college to officially open the academy; including a lively  discussion on the opportunities it will create.


Phil Smith, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland attends the launch of the programme at the RNC

The new academy will allow students to attain Cisco qualifications, helping them to realise their ambitions and open up new employment opportunities. The Cisco Networking Academy has introduced a new model for the RNC, enabling it to expand its horizons and look to new forms of education for students. The academy will combine up-to-date in-classroom learning techniques with new curricula, assessments, and tools to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to excel in a modern working environment. In addition to their existing involvement in our Cisco Networking Academy programme, we’re delighted to share that the Open University will be providing the necessary training for teachers at the college and also provide guidance and support within the Networking Academy.

We’re extremely proud to be adding this UK first to our network of over 9,000 academies in 165 countries worldwide. Since 1997, more than five million students have participated in Networking Academy courses and we have already seen the impact of Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) courses on the visually impaired community, including for Cisco employees. With a number of Paralympics attending the college the academy programme has the potential to expand and transform the careers of some of the countries greatest athletes.

Our ‘minds wide open’ motto, and work with the RNC, is a reflection of our commitment to educating people in any scenario and achieving the best results possible.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated of the academy’s successes and the student’s progress!

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  1. Since gaining a Cisco Academy status and the official launch of Cisco@RNC, it has been a whirlwind ride. A number of staff are currently working their way through CCNA 1 at every opportunity in readiness for the exam in December. As Teacher in Charge of Cisco@RNC this is probably one of the biggest projects I have undertaken and I would like to thank Andrew Smith (Open University) and Iain Murray (Curtin University) for their time and enthusiastic support. There is still much work to be done but with their support it will make the journey a little easier.

    We look forward to our first students in January.

  2. Something that has impressed me, since working with the teaching team at RNC. Is the dedication, we have worked with many academics and educational professionals alike for a longer time than polite to share. Yet the teaching team at RNC stand out in our experience. Willing to go beyond the extra mile for their students, the extra they are putting into solving the technological and educational challenges to make sure that the blind and visually impaired students taking Cisco studies will be equal (if not better) than their sighted peers is inspiring.