Around the world, individual governments set national standards for education certifications, and in the fast-moving IT space, that can happen frequently.

In Australia, the Australian Qualifications Framework is the policy that regulates education qualifications nationally. Under the policy, Certificate IV qualifications “enable graduates to demonstrate the learning outcomes expressed as knowledge, skills, and the application of knowledge and skills specified in the level 4 criteria and the Certificate IV descriptor.”

A Certificate IV level qualification indicates that the learner has acquired job-ready skills for specialist roles. And the Certificate IV in Information Technology is regularly updated to reflect the continually evolving skillsets required of IT professionals.

Similarities with purpose

With the challenge of writing new facilitator guides for Certificate IV in Information Technology, Zoe Kaczorowski and Adrian Brell, teachers at TAFE NSW – the leading provider of vocational education and training in Australia, with around 428,000 enrolled students – realized there were similarities between their Certificate IV units and other certification programs. The Certificate IV units they wrote “mapped pretty darn closely with Cisco’s target indicators for parts of the Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) exam and parts of the Cisco Networking Academy CCNA 2 and 3 programs,” says Zoe.

As a trusted Cisco Networking Academy partner, with responsibility for training Networking Academy instructors from across New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, TAFE NSW was already intimately involved with the Networking Academy program and its teaching methods.

“The Academy provides so many additional resources for teachers, like instructor PowerPoints (for every module, with specific tips, tricks, and instructor strategies), labs, practice exams, and access to a worldwide instructor community, as well as instructor professional development,” says Zoe. “Having quality resources makes a teacher’s life so much easier and helps prepare the learner for real world certification.”

With the remit of providing technical and further education services to equip learners with job-ready skills that recognize the changing nature of workplaces and promote equity and access to education in the state, TAFE NSW and Cisco Networking Academy share common goals.

Accommodating NSW skills gaps

The IT skills gap is real. According to a recent digital skills gap report, by RMIT Online with Deloitte Access Economics, 87 per cent of jobs now require digital skills with businesses indicating a skills gap of 156,000 new technology workers to keep pace with skills demands.

Networking Academy, along with partners like TAFE NSW, provides learners at all levels and from all backgrounds with job-ready IT skills to meet the changing needs of industry. 217,918 students in Australia have participated in Cisco Networking Academy courses since 1997, and 412 instructors are currently teaching the courses.

Through the pandemic, instructors at TAFE NSW continued to provide instructor training remotely, helping prepare future Networking Academy instructors to deliver the program.

From Sydney to Broken Hill, learners at TAFE NSW are attaining the skills required to achieve Certificate IV qualifications. By completing many of the CCNA modules, they are also well on their way to having the knowledge to attain CCNA qualifications, which are recognized worldwide.

For fostering the enthusiasm to impart these job-ready skills to learners; and for its efforts to transfer the teaching skills required by Networking Academy instructors in urban as well as remote regional areas; and for recognizing Networking Academy’s role in helping students attain national certification, TAFE NSW recently received a Networking Academy Be the Bridge Award.

Members of Cisco Networking Academy with staff from TAFE NSW
From L to R: Cisco Networking Academy’s Emma Broadbent with TAFE NSW’s Justin Thomas, Sumith Abkari, and Irene Ireland

About Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco Networking Academy is the world’s largest and longest running corporate social responsibility education program in the world. We’re particularly proud of our collective impact, especially for under-resourced and underrepresented people in our communities.

Our mission is to empower all people with career possibilities by transforming the lives of learners, educators, and communities through the power of technology, education, and career opportunities.

We partner with nearly 12,000 educational institutions across 180 countries and offer curriculum in up to 27 languages. More than 15 million learners worldwide have participated in Networking Academy since 1997; 2.9 million learners who have participated in career certification or IT Essentials courses say that Networking Academy helped them obtain a new job.

Our inclusive workforce development program equips educators with leading curriculum (licensed free to educational and non-profit institutions), Webex by Cisco, and resources and learners with industry-recognized skills and certifications. This is a true end-to-end skills-to-jobs program connecting learners with peers, mentors, and job opportunities through our job-matching engine, Talent Bridge.

Learn more about Cisco Networking Academy.

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Marcella O'Shea

Regional Manager - APJ

Corporate Affairs