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UK lags will be offered training in networking skills in a bid to bridge the skills shortage in IT.

The scheme to establish a vocational learning academy at Wandsworth prison, London will be delivered by Cisco and the HM Prisons Service. Cisco reckons one in five jobs in data and network cabling go unfilled, a shortfall representing 61,000 jobs in the UK alone.

The course lasts 70 hours and will initially be offered to 12 prisoners. It's hoped 100 lags will pass through its doors by the end of the year.

Inmates who finish the training will be interviewed for jobs after they leave jail by BeOnsite, a non-profit firm. "The academy at HMP Wandsworth will develop real-world, in-demand skills helping to prepare inmates for the workplace and therefore reducing re-offending," said Cisco's UK public sector director Scot Gardner.

The Wandsworth course is the latest to come out of Cisco's Networking Academies scheme. Since its launch in 1997, the scheme has expanded into 26 prisons in the UK and over 10,000 institutions across 167 countries. ®

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