The Community Ecosystem

Established during 1998 and ongoing ever since, the UK and Ireland Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) community is a collection of Schools, Further Education Colleges, Universities, Apprenticeship Providers and specialist education providers. Based around the principles of open access and academic social enterprise, the NetAcad community enables the support of educators and education establishments (of all sizes).

There are three types of organisations within NetAcad structure - it is a collection of equals. The majority of organisations exist as a Cisco Academy, accessing more than 1,400 hours of feature rich Digital Technologies content for free. Some specialist organisations operate as Academy Support Centres, focusing on enablement and guidance. Equally, many of these also operate as Instructor Training Centres, responsible for teaching educators in the more advanced technologies, skills and courses.

Cisco Academies (CAs)

Being a Cisco Academy gives your educational establishment the opportunity to freely use Cisco curriculum and tools to teach digital, technical and career building skills to students, as part of a global community. Any Cisco Academy within the UK can use Cisco Networking Academy content to support the recruitment and education of students - teaching them the industry skills of the future. We welcome institutions of any size and educational level.

Many current courses do not require the purchase of equipment, using freely available resources as well as Packet Tracer, the Networking, CyberSecurity and Internet of Things (IoT) simulator. Some of the more technically advanced courses, may require the optional purchase of specialist equipment.

As a NetAcad community member, your institution will gain access to a comprehensive technology skills and career building programme with a global reputation for preparing people for success in a connected world. Benefits include:

  • free and unlimited use of Packet Tracer, for all students, staff and institution computers - this is a network configuration, cybersecurity skills and IoT simulation tool, with a pantheon of technological resources.

  • updated and maintained high quality curricula and learning tools to promote Academic excellence

  • free access to the Cisco learning platform for administrators, instructors, and students

  • extensive discounts on optional equipment (recommended in specific, advanced career-ready courses)

  • discounts for students, on international Industry certification exams

  • selection of courses to compliment academic or vocational programmes and develop digital skills and prepare students for globally recognised industry certifications. With approximately 1400+ hours of learning available.

  • access support and training, support communities, and professional development

  • online teaching resources, grade books

  • online simulations, games, quizzes, assessments

  • 24x5 online instructor and student support (Monday to Friday)

  • differentiated support packages, from free to paid-for from our community of Academy Support Centres

If you would like to apply to become a Cisco Academy, please fill in this online form. You may wish to see what people are saying about Cisco Networking Academy on Facebook.

Academy Support Centres (ASCs)

ASCs play a critical role in the development and sustainability of the programme. They recruit Cisco Academies, Instructors, and help them meet quality requirements for the delivery of Networking Academy curricula. ASCs provide a minimum of the following services to the Cisco Academies (CAs) they support:

  • act as the first point of contact for support to CAs

  • assist new CAs with the onboarding process

  • assist CAs with finding instructor training, setting up classrooms and practical labs, and giving guidance regarding equipment (when appropriate)

  • build awareness, linking Cisco and partner content to nationally recognised qualifications and educational standards

  • provide programme orientation for new administrators and instructors

  • localise and disseminate critical communications from Cisco

  • collaborate with CAs to improve academic delivery and engagement

  • provide marketing and outreach advice for CAs

ASCs are encouraged to offer additional services to those described above, and typically work with regional Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Managers, who are responsible for managing the Networking Academy programme to support initiatives and projects based on regional goals and objectives.

Instructor Training Centres (ITCs)

ITCs qualify (prepare and authorize) new and current Networking Academy Instructors for specific advanced, career focussed courses. They are responsible for providing:

  • Access to online instructor resources for training

  • Ongoing technical support to participating instructors

  • Professional development opportunities, which may be free or at a cost (per course, or via subscription)

  • Giving guidance regarding relevant practical lab equipment and setup

The qualification requirements are not applicable to all of NetAcad courses. All Explore courses have no any qualification requirement. Several of the Career courses such as CCNA, CCNP, DevNet Associate and CyberOps Associate have qualification requirements. IT Essentials and Networking Essentials do not have qualification requirements.

Support Network in the UK and Ireland

Cisco Academies are free to select the ASCs and ITCs they would like to work with. The following partnering academic organisations are active in the UK and Ireland. You can use the Academy Locator to discover more information, as well as use the map or links below.

UKI NetAcad Partners
UK&I NetAcad Partners - Google My Maps