Networking company Cisco launches EDGE Centre to develop digital skills

SOUTH AFRICA Cisco, a global networking giant, has announced South Africa’s fourth EDGE Centre in partnership with the Eastern Cape Provincial Government to develop digital skills in the region and bring employment opportunities to the community it serves.

The new facility is in the heart of the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) Science and Technology Park and perfectly situated to serve the needs of the three major universities in the area, as well as cater to the significant manufacturing sectors of East London.

The centre’s focus on job creation and skills development will be a critical enabler to help transition the Eastern Cape into a digital-forward region.

This announcement follows similar initiatives in Cape Town, Pretoria, and the Dube Trade Port in KwaZulu-Natal and provides small businesses with access to workspaces, conferencing, and training facilities, and global Cisco experts.

The EDGE Centre values (Experience, Design, Go-to-market, Earn) are a powerful enabler for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) that will also benefit from access to best of breed products and high-speed broadband connectivity. All of this with one aim, to create new job opportunities for the citizens of this country.

“Guided by our purpose to ‘Power an Inclusive Future for All’ in partnership with government, we are committed to leveraging our people, processes, technology and our unmatched network of industry partners to help bridge the digital divide,” said Smangele Nkosi, GM of Cisco in South Africa.

“We already have several initiatives in place and the ELIDZ and Cisco’s EDGE Centre will bring industry-leading technologies to the region.”

Cisco was responsible for the infrastructure and building investment of the Cisco EDGE Centre, as well as providing workstations for access to all Cisco NetAcad training courses.

These online courses are self-paced and equip students with the skills required to pursue careers in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

The firm will also operate the centre for two years to assist in SMME enablement in the region and the facility will play host to hackathons to stimulate more interest in technology skills development.

“SMMEs are a critical growth driver to meet the National Development Plan targets. Cisco can make a difference in the way these businesses work, digitally connect, interact, and learn in South Africa,” said Simphiwe Kondlo, CEO of the ELIDZ.

“As an expansion of its CDA programme, the multi-million-rand Cisco EDGE Centre investment in East London will provide much-needed access to managed workspaces of the future with Cisco Meraki high-speed broadband services, Webex collaboration-enabled facilities, skills, and talent development programmes through Cisco’s Networking Academy.”

Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration programme has developed strategic partnerships with governments across the globe and is now active in 44 countries with more than 1200 active or completed projects aimed at unlocking the true value of mass-scale digitisation.

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