UKFast and Cisco have teamed up with the Open University to tackle the IT skills gap and improve the technical expertise available to Northern employers.
UKFast invited schools across the North West to sign up to take advantage of the support being offered to teachers by the Cisco Net Academy.
UKFast held a launch event last week and has already seen 73 schools sign-up to take advantage of the resources that the networking giant is offering.
UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones said that while everyone was talking about the skills shortage in technology, and there’s no way we can combat that shortage if teachers do not get the tools to deliver cutting-edge digital training.
Technology is evolving so quickly that we need to focus on supporting teachers and keeping them up to speed with the latest developments,” said MBE.
“Just last week a skills audit by Manchester Digital called on employers to engage more closely with education. It’s something we’ve been doing at UKFast for years and we’re seeing amazing results. You can see from the incredible uptake for the scheme from schools and colleges that it’s something they’re crying out for,” he added.
Cisco and UKFast are working with the Open University to deliver the academic programme and there is still a chance for schools to sign up to the programme.
Nuno Guarda, head of corporate affairs for Cisco in the UK & Ireland said it was critical to have strong partners like UKFast and the Open University because they bring amazing value to the curriculum and help deliver it to local schools.
“This has been Cisco’s flagship CSR programme since 1997 and we’re aiming to help everyone, not only IT professionals, become more confident in their use of technology and help them understand how it fits in the world that surrounds them,” Guarda said.
UKFast has written a cheque for its second security firm acquisition in just a few months.
The outfit is getting more aggressive as it seeks larger public sector contracts. Last July it bought Pentest and this week wrote a £2.3 million cheque for Secure Information Assurance. SIA has clients which include the MoD and the Cabinet Office.
The deal took a year to complete and required UKFast to get access to the IL3 and IL4 Official-Sensitive accreditations.
UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones said that acquiring S-IA was a strategic move, not only because of its high-profile government clients, but also because of its security product set.
“It’s a rising business and the deal was an extremely competitive process, but the S-IA management team sees the clear advantage of partnering with UKFast, seeing the instant scalability of our eCloud platform as the perfect offering for the government.”
S-IA CEO Martin Knapp is remaining to head up UKFast’s G-Cloud team and will be looking to grow public sector revenues.
“The conversation started when we went to UKFast to look at their data centre facilities. We initially planned to host our cloud with UKFast, but we were so impressed that we started a conversation about becoming partners and that quickly became a conversation about Lawrence buying the business,” he said.
A Manchester man who runs a small to medium sized business (SMB) is recognised in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list.
Lawrence Jones (pictured) runs hosting and colocation firm UKFast and received an MBE for his services to the UK’s digital economy.
Jones said his company specialises in helping UK SMEs by providing small firms with high end tech that are normally affordable only to enterprises.
He said: “We, the SMEs, are the ones that are paying tax, not the big boys with the clever tax planning.”
Small companies drive the UK economy, he said. His 15-year old company turns over £30 million a year and has 200 employees.
He said: “As an entrepreneur you find yourself carrying on regardless, working your hardest, even when there are not many people who pat you on the back. I am tremendously proud to be British and to get an honour like this makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”
* Inventor Trevor Baylis has received a CBE in the Honours list. He invented the Baygen wind up radio, and received the award for services to intellectual property.