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Cisco IT skills building program marks milestone in Canada

Cisco IT skills building program marks milestone in Canada 

Charles “Baz” Bazilewich didn’t get a single compulsory credit back in Grade 12. However, it was ok with him. He had a football scholarship to look forward to…until that dream fell through.

“I had a poor GPA in high school because I didn’t apply myself,” said Bazilewich. “…That’s just the type of student I was; invisible and knew everything there was to know, especially that football was going to pay my bills.”

Luckily forBazilewich, when his football career failed to materialize he was able to find someone to hook him up with the Cisco Networking Academy.  Through the program, he received his first Cisco certification and after years of college and university post-secondary education, he is now working on his graduate studies.

Bazilewich is now also a teacher at Winnipeg’s Sisler High School and a graduate student of Cisco Networking Academy. He has successfully implemented Networking Academy into numerous school programs, resulting in the creation of The Sisler Network & Cyber Security Academy in 2015. The academy is the first of its kind in Canada. It specializes in IT education aimed at helping Manitoba High School students gain an introduction to relevant technologies from grade 9 through grade 12.

Since its inception in 1997, the information technology skills and career building program known as Cisco Networking Academy has helped more than 7.8 million students around the world. In Canada, some 172, 160 students have gained technical and entrepreneurial skills through the program during the last 20 years.

The Networking Academy is Cisco’s longest-running and largest corporate social responsibility program. The program develops curriculum, tools, resources, and instructor training are provided free of charge to academy partners, which include high schools, colleges, universities, and other non-profit community organizations.

At a time when many businesses in various industries are struggling with an IT talent shortage, the program serves as a pipeline for IT professionals in Canada. Cisco said it even adding to the program new coursework to the in areas such as the Internet of Things and data analytics in a way that is in line with the future of education and business trends.

Some Networking Academy stats in Canada:

  • 21,290 students enrolled

  • 12 per cent of student population made up of women

  • 1.8 classes per student

  • 211 academies involved in the program

  • 40, 477 Cisco certifications awarded since inception


“Networking Academy has been a vital component of Cisco’s commitment to fostering digitization in Canada and ensuring that all generations have the necessary IT skills to take advantage of the many career opportunities on the horizon,” said RolaDagher, president of Cisco Canada. “We are extremely proud of the last 20 years and look forward to creating, even more, success stories in the future.


Author: Nestor Arellano

He is a seasoned media veteran who specializes in technology and business news. Before joining IT in Canada Nestor worked as a journalist for IT World Canada, Mortgage Broker News and Thomson Reuters. His work has also appeared in other major news and tech publications in Canada and the United States both in print and online. Nestor also regularly blogs and tweets on the latest technology trends and gadgets.

Follow on Twitter: @ITIC_NestorA

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