Squaddies to make up IT skills shortfall

Booting up takes on completely new meaning

GIs who have had enough of razor sharp haircuts and square bashing are being offered the chance to retrain for a new career in IT by networking giant Cisco Systems. Instead of marching off into civvy street to fend for themselves, Cisco is offering high-tech training to demob-happy military personnel leaving the services to prepare them for jobs in the Internet industry. The cornerstone of this initiative is Cisco's Networking Academies programme, which already teaches IT skills to students at over 1,000 high schools and community colleges throughout the US. Launched in association with the US government, it's hoped the initiative will help meet the demand for skilled IT staff. A spokeswoman for Cisco in the UK said she thought it was a great idea. "If it proves successful in the US it's possible a similar scheme could be introduced in the UK," she said. In the UK, 25,000 personnel leave the armed forces each year. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said that it already had a comprehensive resettlement scheme in place to help servicemen and women retrain for life outside the armed forces. ®

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