Egypt faces unique challenges, but along with those come unique opportunities. Egypt boasts the largest labor force in the region, and it is a youthful labor force too, with those in the 20 to 24 year-old age bracket representing more than half the labor force. But a challenge accompanies that, as there is an excess supply of young labor-market entrants with high education levels.
The government is responding to this challenge in a number of ways under Egypt Vision 2030, and an important part of that vision is the development of the IT sector.
One of the challenges is to ensure that graduates are prepared for the IT jobs of the future. For its efforts in workforce development and improvement in Egypt, Cisco Networking Academy partner, the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI), is a deserving winner of a Be the Bridge award.
I talked to Emad Abd-Elrahman, Associate Professor and Head of Computer and Systems department at NTI and Networking Academy manager at NTI, about NTI and its workforce development and improvement programs.
Q: Tell us a little about the purpose of the NTI and how you first got involved with Networking Academy.
A: NTI is a reputed scientific, educational and research institution founded in 1983. Our mandate is to be the center of excellence in Egypt for telecommunication education, training, research and development, and consultancy services. We devote our resources to building up these pillars of development, and I feel we are well prepared and well equipped to play a major role in the fast-paced development of the ICT industry in Egypt.
We first became involved with Cisco Networking Academy 25 years ago through a partnership between the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Cisco.
Q: What does NTI specialize in today and where does it operate?
A: National Telecommunication Institute operates all around Egypt; our first site is located in Nasr-city, the second in Smart-Village and the newest in New Capital. In addition, we work with most government universities under the umbrella of Creativa Buildings affiliated with the Ministry of Telecommunication to enable an environment to upskill and prepare university students for the job market. The main specialty of NTI is telecommunication and networking which is empowered by Cisco programs.
Q: Your initiatives to enable youth and fresh graduates to qualify for Cisco Certified Training tracks has been acknowledged as a recipient of a Be the Bridge Award. Can you tell us what led to the need for a program like yours?
A: NTI has different capacity training programs that were established based on market needs and profiles of new jobs. Our vision is to bridge the gap between university educational outcomes and actual market needs. NTI plays an important role in this issue by providing different training programs with the aid of partners like Cisco Networking Academy. By studying market needs we can build successful training programs with outstanding outcomes like the Digital Egypt Youth program that we launched two years ago, as well as our Summer Training Program.
Q: How have these initiatives enabled the communities in which you operate? And how many students have participated?
A: Our program outcomes have been remarkable, with many trainees achieving internationally-recognized certifications that qualify them with the new skills required by today’s employment market.
NTI targets different categories of students, and trains thousands per year, which is all funded by the Ministry of Telecommunication and provided for free to students. Since inception, we’ve trained around 6,700 students.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to add about NTI’s involvement in the Networking Academy program?
A : As a Cisco Academy Support Center and Instructor Training Center, NTI plays an important role in qualifying instructors on Networking Academy programs including CCNA, Network Security, Cyber Ops, CCNP, IoT, Linux and Python programming which means Egypt derives the maximum possible benefits of being involved with the Academy program.
Thanks to Emad for these insights, and thanks to the entire National Telecommunication Institute team for its exceptional work in developing and improving Egypt’s workforce of the future.
By leveraging the Networking Academy Program to tailor training for market needs, NTI helps prepare students like Hussein for the jobs of the future.
“I wanted to find good work in a professional company where I could gain experience and skills.” — Hussein, NTI student
After studying CCNA , Network Security, and Cyber Ops associate with NTI, Hussein went on to get an internship and subsequently a full-time job as a SOC Analyst.