In Italy, youth unemployment is high, and even promising graduates can struggle to find work. The Junior Networking program, which connects Cisco Networking Academy students with internships at local IT companies, is helping skilled candidates launch their careers. Of the 150 students who have participated since 2010, 97% are now employed.
According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, the proportion of young jobless people aged 15 to 24 has rarely dropped below 20 percent since 2004, and has been climbing steadily since 2011. The problem is so serious that Serena Sorrentino, the confederate secretary of Italy’s main trade union, Cgil, has said that “youth unemployment is a dramatic national emergency.”
In 2009, building on its success as an award-winning Cisco Vocational Training Center, the Italian Networking Academy eForHum partnered with Cisco Italy to launch the Junior Networking program, a project that fills the gap between IT secondary school and the Italian job market. Each year, eForHum invites up to 30 of the most talented students in its Networking Academy IT Essentials course to join the program.
The Junior Networking program helps students gain valuable skills and helps companies gain well-trained young talent. Two program graduates, Ivan Saliu and Vlad Olariu, now work at the IT consulting company Dimension Data Italy. Says Ivan, “The enterprise came to us. They told us what they do, what they offer, and what they were looking for in a junior resource.” Vlad adds, “Without the knowledge I acquired in the program, I would not be where I am today.”