A week-long workshop ran from 10-16 July to train ICT practitioners in the business, government, and education sector on one of the world’s leading networking and telecommunications systems. 

Approximately 34 ICT practitioners were crunching keyboards at WSU’s Chiselhurst Site in East London in an effort to attain internationally accredited CISCO certification.

The workshop forms part of the Nemisa Eastern Cape e-Skills CoLab’s mandate to facilitate and expedite ICT skills development in the province. The need to capacitate the ICT SMME sector in the province was highlighted at the Provincial Broadband Skills Workshop hosted by the WSU-based e-Skills CoLab in 2016.

“It was during a follow-up Provincial Broadband Skills meeting with ECITI and others that we decided to run this pilot programme to measure and determine the interest levels amongst practitioners in the region. The response has been very positive with a lot of enthusiasm being shown,” says e-Skills CoLab coordinator Lorna van der Merwe.

The WSU IT department, which has been housing a CISCO Networking Academy for 15 years, has proven to be monumental in providing the requisite technical and professional support through facilitating the training.

The delegates have been split into two  CISCO certification courses based on their current ICT background, namely, IT Essentials and CCNA1 (Cisco Certified Network Associate 1).

The IT Essentials programme prepares one to be an ICT technician. The CCNA programme provides comprehensive coverage of networking topics, from fundamentals to advanced applications and services, with opportunities for hands-on practical experience and career skills development in the field of computer networking.

“We’re extremely proud as a department to be able to play our part in nurturing and developing scarce and critical skills in the ICT sector that will undoubtedly have far-reaching impact in developing much needed human capital for the benefit of the province,” said WSU IT department head Jose Lukose.

He said such interventions are critical in fostering and promoting close working relationships between the institution and the community.

Van Der Merwe said the training comes at the most opportune time following the recent rollout by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services of internet connectivity via Wi-Fi hotspots in the O.R Tambo District to 300 schools, clinics, municipal sites. The connectivity project – aligned to government’s Internet4All, SA Connect and Vision 2030 policies – will be continued and expanded in the coming years.

“This intervention can immediately have an impact for our trainees by providing opportunities for employment as networking technicians, and business opportunities for our small ICT incubators,” she said.

Participants will be issued with certificates of attendance and those who successfully complete the CISCO exams will receive CISCO Academy Certificates.

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