Cisco officially launches at RNC

Prospective Cisco student Martin, current RNC IT student Kyle and Cisco CEO Phil Smith stand in front of a networking cabinet in the new RNC Cisco Networking Academy room

There were celebrations all round at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) today as Phil Smith, the Chief Executive of Cisco systems UK and Ireland, officially launched the RNC Cisco Networking Academy- the UK’s first which is designed specifically for visually impaired (VI). Students and staff from the College joined in the celebrations, chatting to the Cisco team about just what the Academy means to them and the opportunities it will create for them in the future.


In his opening speech Phil Smith stated “In today’s world I need to get the right skills, I can’t miss out on the best skills in the country; I need the best people in my company. I couldn’t be prouder to be partnering with RNC.”


The event was held in the new Cisco Academy at RNC, an area specifically dedicated to rolling out the Cisco qualifications at the College. Phil Smith was joined by Nuno Guarda, Programme Manager and Head of Corporate Affairs and Neil Smith, Global Leader for Licensed Small Cell.  Andrew Smith from the Open University, who has been the lead trainer for RNC staff, was also in attendance.


Sheila Tallon, RNC Principal commented “. RNC is very proud to be the first VI Cisco Networking Academy in the UK. To partner with Cisco is a real privilege; the company are genuine in their desire to improve employment opportunities for people with disability. The Cisco motto ‘Minds wide open’ resonates with our work at the RNC where we look for what is possible and can be done.”


Kyla Smith, Student Governor, thanked the Cisco delegates for attending and stressed just how important partnerships with global organisations like Cisco are to the students, helping them to realise their ambitions and offering real opportunities for employment.


During a tour of the College, Phil Smith was incredibly impressed with the RNC facilities and the students, spending a lot of time in the sports and art departments he said that he would definitely like to bring his whole team down to RNC for a board meeting and some team building! Although Phil was in his element when he saw the RNC Chapel performing arts centre, he picked up a guitar and impressed everyone when he belted out the Monkees classic ‘I’m a Believer’.


We look forward to celebrating the first Academy successes with both staff and students in the future!


You can view the Cisco Networking Academy prospectus in Word or PDF format below

Word Cisco Networking Academy Prospectus

PDF Cisco Networking Academy Prospectus


For more information about the Cisco Networking Academy email or call 01432 376 621


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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