Making A Difference: Cisco Volunteers Develop Local Talent in Sohar, Oman
Our goal was to showcase the important role information and communication technologies play in driving societies towards innovation and achieving economic growth and prosperity.
A global team of 27 Cisco volunteers came together in Sohar, Oman, with Fast Lane, a Cisco Learning Partner, to promote discussions on how ICT training can facilitate the transformation of Oman’s society by developing and empowering Omani youth; the main source for local IT talent.
Business Outreach: Setting the Course
Cisco’s Middle East Employee Resource Group brings together employees who want to enhance their careers, support the community, and grow the business by facilitating business partnerships between Cisco and the community. As part of the Business Outreach Program, they were part of a global team representing employees in Dubai, Egypt, KSA, Lebanon, Belgium and the US.
They started this journey by agreeing to deliver a pilot training program to college and high school students with the objective of:
- Increasing technology awareness,
- Enhancing technical and business skills for local workforce development, and
- Focusing on philanthropic and community outreach
This past December, they delivered a five day IT talent development workshop to over 120 university and high school students at Sohar University, one of 12 Cisco Networking Academy sites in Oman. Sohar University hosted the event and both private and public representatives from local IT and public sector attended the opening session. The students comprised of more than 80% women pursuing bachelor degrees in Computer Science and IT related engineering careers.
The training tracks included IP Telephony, Wireless, Green Initiative and Professional Development. The topics, content and, audience were selected based on input from various stakeholders, including Dr. Wail Omar, Dean of Faculty of Computing and Information Technology at Sohar University, Oman’s Information Technology Authority (ITA), and Networking Academy teams based in Dubai and Lebanon.
The volunteers, who delivered the training on site, were motivated to openly share their knowledge and professional expertise in both theory and practical hands-on labs. The success of this program emphasized the importance of connecting academic offerings with practitioners and experts in the field.
The initial feedback collected from the university staff, students and IT professionals was very positive with requests for future programs. For the Cisco team, this was an opportunity to further develop their own professional skills, extend their professional network and gain a better understanding of the ICT needs of the region.