The UK skills gap are typically characterised and targeted by age, gender and region, yet there are many other routes to helping solve the problem. Including by encouraging expertise and experience to be applied in new ways. No industry, sector or organisation has a stronger track record of discipline or dedication to building expertise than the armed forces. This is why, today, Cisco UK & Ireland signed the Armed Forces Covenant
Cisco recognises the value service personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to its business, and seeks to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in three main areas; with digital skills programmes working with the Royal Signals, by providing support for individuals and their families into and at work, and with initiatives to help further entrepreneurial ambition after leaving the forces.
Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland said “Those who serve our nation make incredible sacrifices and we are extremely proud to be able to support them and their families in even the smallest of ways. In the near future, every career choice will require you to demonstrate digital skills. We are delighted that with the Cisco Networking Academy and other initiatives, we are able to play a key role in helping the armed forces continue to build a solid digital foundation.”
Colonel Jason Gunning, Corps Colonel of the Royal Corps of Signals said, "Today's public pledge of support is an important milestone in our relationship with Cisco. We are very grateful for the support Cisco gives to both reservists and veterans. Being able to partner with companies such as Cisco provides real advantages for the military. We hugely value the two Cisco Networking Academies based in our Royal Signals units and the support Cisco gives to the Royal Signals Institution."
Ren Kapur, Chief Executive Officer, X Forces Enterprise said, “It was a privilege to be at the signing of Cisco’s pledge to the armed forces. Six years ago, we met with Cisco when X Forces Enterprise was just an idea. Not only did Cisco support the mentoring and launch of the programme, but they have continued to support us as our organisation has helped more than 1,200 start-ups in the UK, and secured loans of £11.5m through government backed funding as one of the most successful micro-funders in the UK. This year, with the technology provided by Cisco, we will be able to provide virtual training sessions across the UK so that no individual will be disadvantaged by geography.”
As part of its commitment, Cisco in the UK will:
- Work with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to support employment of UK veterans, service spouses and partners and welcome applications from all sections of the community including the wounded, injured or sick, in line with Cisco’s worldwide policy as an equal opportunities employer. Where applications are received from veterans who meet all the essential employment criteria, they will be guaranteed an interview;
- Through the Cisco Networking Academy partnership with the Royal Signals, the primary provider of IT training for the armed forces, help support digital skills in all areas of the armed forces, past, present and future;
- Strive to support the employment of Service spouses and partners by endeavouring to offer a degree of flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment, and offering flexible or remote working where possible;
- Continue to encourage volunteering activities by employees including engagement with and/or fund raising for registered Armed Forces charities; Cisco’s global Time2Give policy encourages its employees to actively volunteer by granting the benefit of 5 days leave each year which can be used for skilled volunteering or fundraising;
- Seek to support employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible in accordance with the Cisco Military Leave policy. Employees can use their Time2Give days for Reserve force training purposes;
- Seek to support all Cisco employees who have links with, or an interest in, the armed forces through the Cisco VETS employee resource organisation (an internal network for support);
- Actively participate in UK Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day and Armistice / Remembrance;
- Support those leaving the services and seeking to start their own business through Cisco’s participation as a founding corporate partner of X Forces, offering dedicated start-up programmes for X Forces, mentoring from employees, use of Cisco resources and technology and other services as required.