Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, today!

February 23, 2016

Yesterday, I spoke to Tunji Akintokun, who is one of the directors at Cisco, responsible for growing Cisco’s virtual sales for the emerging markets covering Africa, the Middle East, and Russia.

Tunji, holds a MSC in Information Systems Engineering from London South Bank University, has also won a range of awards for his efforts to empower the next generation of technology leaders. He’s the first of our five key speakers in our Mobilize:LDN event participation, and he explains below why we’re focusing on the talent of tomorrow, today.

Later this morning I’m getting on stage for the Mobilize:LDN event at the Camden Roundhouse and speaking to an audience that will hopefully feature the next you and me. Let me explain a bit more about that and the reasons why I’m getting on stage…

In our lifetime, we’ve seen the most incredible change in how we connect and communicate. It was just 20 years ago that the Internet burst on to the scene, though it had been around for a while before that. And in a very short time, it has dramatically changed how we work, how we live, how we play, even how we learn.

In fact, it has changed our lives so dramatically that when surveyed, a whopping 94% of 14-29 year olds said they could not imagine their life without their mobile phones, 84% the Internet, 64% their car, and then, only after those three technologies, just 43% said they could not live without their partner. Imagine that thirty years ago!

The Internet and its ability to connect to the world is so important that in 2011, the UN declared access to the Internet a basic human right. At Cisco, we believe in the Internet’s ability to help improve the quality of life and human rights for all people around the world. Our approach to human rights is very similar to our approach to business. We take the long-term view, planning multiple steps into the future rather than one step at a time. So, with that in mind, we’re doing just that.

In keeping with our ongoing commitment to the UK skills and education agenda, Cisco is the tech stakeholder for the event series, Mobilize:LDN. It’s a series of digital career shows run by TechMix on behalf of the Greater London Authority and it’s designed to address the digital skills gap across London. It’s pretty exciting to have Cisco involved in a campaign like this, and I’m looking forward to speaking at the Camden Roundhouse later this morning.

The event series will connect businesses with young digital leaders (15-25 years) using five events that will run across London throughout 2016, providing a conference summit and an opportunity for digital employers, apprenticeship providers and learning institutions, to inspire the next generation – and likely get inspired by the attendees too!

Now, we’re very aware that London doesn’t mean the UK and that doing five events in London will not make everything okay. The model is new and we’re trialing it with a view to doing similar far outside of London, to complement the excellent partnerships and initiatives already underway here in the UK, such as our Cisco Networking Academy to mentoring at-risk inner-city students, we are building the workforce of the future.

Did you know that every 90 days over 160,000 new jobs in Information Technology are generated by companies in this country with over half of those companies expressing a difficulty in filling those vacancies?

There is a very real issue here in the UK IT industry, and that is attracting enough people into the industry with the right level of skills to meet the demand. That’s only going to become more of an issue as UK businesses and the public sector realise the full benefit of digitisation and require platform developers, data analysts and scientists and programmers fluent in multiple coding languages.

In July 2015 Cisco announced a number of strategic commitments in the UK, totalling $1B over the next 3-5 years in order to support the UK’s digitisation plans and accelerate digital economic growth. Working in partnership with HMG, Cisco is working on a blueprint called Country Digitisation Acceleration focusing on Entrepreneurship, Education and Innovation Centres through the expansion of our British innovation Gateways initiative.

Together with the collaborative work conducted with other companies through the Tech Partnership and Tech City, Cisco is looking to further play a part in accelerating the UK Digital economy by skilling our workforce for the 21st Century Information Technology with skills to ensure we remain as one of the world’s most Digitally Enabled nations underpinning growth and prosperity across all industry sectors.

So, whether you’re already in the IT industry, or whether you’re reading this as a student and want to know more about the opportunities available to you, get in touch with me, check out the event I run, YourFutureYourAmbition, and flick through a digital copy of the latest TechMix magazine too!

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