TUESDAY, MAY 8: Distinguished Rotarians, I wish to thank you for your kind invitation, providing me as it does with the opportunity to share with you and your wider audience a new, relevant and timely initiative, one that is at the same time an education and training collaborative, a Public Private Sector collaborative and also about the world’s largest classroom. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the CISCO Networking Academy.

Yesterday afternoon on the grounds of Bermuda College, the Ministry of Government Estates and Information Services, the Ministry that I am honoured to serve as Minister, announced the Phase I launch of the establishment of a CISCO Local Academy in Bermuda.

In the presence of our Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Paula A. Cox, our Minister of Education, the Hon. Dame Jennifer M. Smith, the President of Bermuda College, Dr. Duranda Green, and other distinguished partners, including private sector partners Orbis Investment Management Limited and BELCO, I inaugurated the CISCO Academy Instructors launch which will have the following discreet and necessary preparatory outcomes.

The Programme Coordinator of the HEART College of Innovation and Technology in Kingston, Jamaica will travel to Bermuda to train four or five Bermudians as CISCO Instructors. This work will result in our establishing the vital base of Bermudian Instructors who will become our inaugural CISCO course leaders to deliver the CISCO Instruction locally.

But before I move too far, allow me to say a little about CISCO, who they are and what a CISCO Academy actually is. CISCO Systems are the worldwide leader in networking products and services and a CISCO Academy is a technology and network training programme, offered as an e- learning training programme that will provide certified training for Bermudians and prepare them for work in one of the more demanding products and services, positioning them to gain work in this critically important arena in our Island and, yes, in the world.

CISCO networking systems and products, for instance, support the routing and switching engineering of our sole energy provider, in addition to supporting its IT platform. Similar CISCO systems support video conferencing platforms linking international companies to their other worldwide offices with a virtual interface that really puts users across the desk from each other. In this way, your correspondent in London, Hong Kong or Australia is right in your Bermuda Office. Do you see the cost savings and business efficiency that the CISCO Video platform delivers to Bermuda and globally based CISCO Shops ?

Major international and local companies value internationally recognized CISCO certifications – the courses are, as you might imagine, rigorous and demanding. The curriculum of the CISCO Networking Academy combines the theory and practice of designing , developing and implementing networks that drive modern organizations. The technology is dynamic and ever evolving, driving the requirement to remain on the cutting edge by skills refresher courses and upgrades. One example of a developing specialist trend is video networking. It should also be recognized that the basic curriculum is designed to teach team work skills, all essential for success in to the modern technocratic megapolis and microstate .

Ladies and gentlemen, the CISCO networking and product s system is a distinctly powerful application, one that requires network engineers who are at the very top of their engineering game.

• CISCO Network Support certifications include:

• Cisco Certified Network Associate – CCNA

• Cisco Certified Network Professional –CCNP

• Cisco Certified Internet Expert – CCIE –RS ( Routing and Switching)

• Cisco Internet Expert – CCIE ISP Dial (ISP Dial Technology )

Acquisition of the CCNA is regarded industry wide as the foundation for most careers in this exciting field.

Who will qualify for the venture at the CISCO Bermuda Academy? The outreach is designed to be wide and yet strategic. By this, I mean that those students whom we wish to attract to the Bermuda CISCO Academy may enrol in the course without preexisting IT backgrounds or skills. A native IT inclination and a willingness to work hard are what they should bring to the table. Additionally and obviously, persons already having IT skills and qualifications who wish to upgrade their skills to a world recognized CISCO certification will be  targeted. CCNA engineers wishing to progress to professional and expert status will be the other cohort welcomed into what CISCO brands the world’s largest classroom.

The Cisco Academy Bermuda venture is particularly exciting because of its collaborative aspect. We launch the Academy in a strategic collaboration with the HEART College of Innovation and Technology of Jamaica and with Bermuda College. Pleasingly, we also have the fulsome sponsorship and in kind support of our Private Industry partners, Orbis Investments Management Limited , BELCO, HISCOX Bermuda , Ignition ( Bermuda ) Limited, QUEST Consulting Limited and, of course , CISCO Systems who is represented by Mr. Navid Ghandeharioun, CISCO Territorial Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean.

This important new initiative, one that is sure to enhance the professional growth of so many Bermudians, is also driven by the coordinating energies of my Government Estates and Information Services Team. Senior Policy Analyst, Mrs. Rhonda Woods-Smith, Assistant Directors at the Information Technology Office , Mr. Shawn Lightbourne, and Ms. Jonelle Steede, and Mr. Michael Oatley, Director of the Information Technology Office, are particularly deserving of kudos. I am grateful to all for their contributions.

You have heard a few references this afternoon to the Heart College of Innovation and Technology in Jamaica. Allow me to explain briefly the role of this institution, after which I shall be more than pleased to respond to any questions that you might have.

As indicated earlier, the HEART College is located in Kingston, Jamaica. In early 2011, the Hon. D. Neletha Butterfield, OBE, JP, MP, my immediate predecessor as Minister of Government Estates and Information Services, visited the HEART College. Seeing the CISCO module at work, she had the vision planted of establishing a CISCO Academy in Bermuda. In this sense, therefore, the HEART College of Innovation and Technology Team has been Bermuda’s dedicated midwife as the local CISCO Academy is born.

Phase I of the CISCO Academy Bermuda initiative will involve the training of instructors for the course. I was pleased to declare during yesterday’s launch that we look forward to Phase II when student participants, the trainees, will be invited into the CISCO Academy laboratory at Bermuda College. The students will arrive immediately following the training of the Bermuda cadre of Instructors.

I conclude my remarks this afternoon, as I did yesterday, with some envisioning of my own. CISCO Territorial Manager, Mr. Navid Ghandeharioun, and I talked excitedly about the prospects and potential value of the Academy. He noted that the level of data computed through this multibillion dollar International business centre called Bermuda is astounding. Together we envisioned Cloud computing platforms managed by a cadre of locally-trained CISCO engineers, providing services to a global customer base in North America and South America – operating from a Bermuda hub of IT professionals who made their mark at the CISCO Bermuda Academy. It is very much a new and powerful venture of Bermuda job making. It is also a venture of Bermuda education and technical training. It is a collaborative initiative that is modern and relevant to our conditions and time, and certainly, it is a new Bermuda opportunity for Private Public partnership.

Make I take this opportunity to inform you, Rotarians and the wider listening audience, that an Information Session for interested applicants for the (CCNA certification course) will be held on Monday, 14th May at 6:30 p.m. at Bermuda College, Room H100. I also invite interested persons to visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CiscoAcademyBermuda and send questions to bdaciscoacademy@gov.bm.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the launch of the CISCO Academy Bermuda initiative is steeped with possibilities and promise. Let us together seize the possibilities and the promises before us.

 

Thank You!