Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cisco Pathways launches its 2020 Social Impact Report

September 24, 2020

We’ve launched our 2020 Social Impact Report for Cisco Pathways, a programme that introduces young people to careers in technology. Through interactive school workshops for Year 7-9 students and engaging work experience for Years 10-13, Pathways specifically targets students from underserved communities and introduces them to technology and digital skills.

In 2017 we made a commitment to increase access to digital skills for 250,000 people in the UK, by the end of 2020. It was important for us to expand our reach to young people from diverse backgrounds and address the lack of diversity within the technology sector.

Building on our successful Pathway To Your Future work experience for 14-18 year olds, we brought together some of our other school programmes to form Cisco Pathways in 2019. The introduction of school workshops for 11-14 year olds allows us to reach students before they choose their GCSE options, and hopefully inspires them to consider selecting STEM subjects. These workshops are offered to selected partner schools located close to Cisco’s main UK offices in Feltham, Reading and Manchester, building more meaningful relationships with schools and delivering longer term impact. The programme also provides online access to downloadable STEM based classroom material that teachers from any school can use.

What we’ve achieved

We’re pleased to see the positive impact that our Pathways programme is having on students who attend. More than 50% of participants are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community and we’re seeing an average of 40% of females on our mixed sessions. We run a girls only work experience for 16-18 year olds to increase the number of females interested in technology.

Here are some of our successes.

Pathway To Your Future Year 10 & 11 work experience (2018-2019):

  • 38% identified as female
  • 52% identified as BAME
  • 82% felt it had provided them with practical next steps for their career

Pathways Year 7-9 school programme (2019):

  • 42% identified as female
  • 53% identified as BAME
  • 95% obtained useful information that will help them with the next steps in their career

Read our 2020 Social Impact Report for the full detail.

What next?

Our Social Impact Report shows very positive participation for students from a BAME background, but when taking a closer look at the number of Black students, there is more we can do. Whilst the Pathways programme has always been committed to increasing diversity, we’re going to go one step further by forming a partnership with a school that has a higher percentage of Black students, and working with Cisco’s employee network of Connected Black Professionals to provide additional role models during the school workshops.

Our long-term goal is that Cisco Pathways continues to inspire young people from diverse backgrounds to be our technology creators and leaders of tomorrow, shaping the future for all of us. Find out some of the other ways we’re engaging with young people through our digital skills programmes.

Leave a comment


  1. Amazing to see how this programme has grown and is reaching an even wider audience! Massive congratulations team.

  2. Excellent update on how Cisco is opening young minds to their potential in areas they may feel is 'beyond' them. Glad we keep going from strength to strength!

  3. Love the direction we're taking. Thanks for the write up Carlene.