A graduate from the Aston Pride IT Cisco Academy has landed a sought after placement with local employer Service Birmingham.
Lawrence Cumber, originally from Cameroon but now living in Aston, had completed his masters degree in Computer Networking at Derby University, but found a lack of practical experience was hindering his search for a job.
A six-month course at the Aston Pride-funded Cisco Academy gave him the required know-how – and importantly, qualified him as a Cisco certified network associate, giving his CV a huge boost.
Following his training he gained a year-long placement with Service Birmingham, a strategic partnership between Birmingham City Council and Capita. Initially helping man the IT hot desk, Lawrence has now moved on to the Oracle section of the business.
"Thanks to the academy I was able to gain a recognised industry-standard qualification which has really added fuel to my career prospects," he said.
"Aston Pride also helped with career coaching and confidence building and helped me turn my ambitions of an IT career into reality. Cisco is a really good name to have on my CV and, together with the placement at Service Birmingham, will give me a real advantage in the future."
Aston Pride's IT training is run by Cisco as part of its international network of IT academies, and supported by Digital Birmingham, the partnership working to make Birmingham a leading European digital city.
The Cisco Academy programme aims to provide foundational networking knowledge, practical experience, opportunities for career exploration, and soft-skills development to help students prepare for careers in IT and networking.
Cisco certifications are recognised worldwide as a great stepping stone to a variety of IT technical careers, with many students going on to work as network engineers.
"The Cisco Academy at Manor Park is one of the best performing academies in the Midlands and very important to our work with the local community," said Aston Pride's IT manager, Michael Lewis.
"Raising the IT skills and capabilities of local residents helps increase job and employment prospects, which we can capitalise on via our links with employers such as Service Birmingham. Many very experienced students have now graduated from the academy, providing a valuable resource for local employers."
Fred Shaw, Service Birmingham's head of CSR (corporate social responsibility), also said: "Providing local people with the opportunity to develop new skills is a great way for us to invest in our local area. We aim to build on this and support others like Lawrence in the community as well as the workplace."