Cisco Networking Academy and hands-on experience spark hope for William


“Cisco Networking Academy study made me realise I am actually smarter than what I thought I was.”


Working as a laborer on building sites was hardly William’s dream job. “It wasn’t very reliable or worth the money, but it was there and available,” he says.

Wanting to progress in construction wasn’t possible as his school grades weren’t good enough to do further study, and the lack of opportunity had a negative impact on his mental health and self-worth.

Rekindling a love of tech

Finding himself at a crossroads, William found help at Merseyside Community Training (MyMCT), where his lifelong interest in tech was rekindled when he enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy.

“MyMCT is an award winning not-for-profit social enterprise passionate about empowering disadvantaged and disengaged young people into a positive destination,” says Kevin Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer of MyMCT. “Since our formation in 2020, we’ve supported 1039 local young people from Wirral and empowered 34 of them to start up their own business. We have also facilitated 581 members to secure their positive destination.”

“MyMCT achieves this through the Youth Employment Hub for Wirral, offering support, advice, and guidance for young people who are not in education, employment, or training.”

“William was referred to MyMCT by his Work Coach in the Job Center to undertake his Construction Skills Certification Scheme Health and Safety Level Course to support him in securing employment within the construction industry,” says Kevin. 

“After a conversation with William about the Tech Event he was really keen to engage and learn new skills along the way.”

The spark

“As long as I can remember, tech has always brought a spark to my eyes,” says William. “It’s always been fascinating just the way it all works,” he says. And the Cisco Networking Academy coursework really spoke to him. “This was the first course I had ever studied for and ever finished,” he says. “I felt very accomplished.”

“Cisco Networking Academy study made me realise I am actually smarter than what I thought I was.”

William’s new-found self-confidence was boosted further when he was interviewed and selected to join the Event IT Team at the Open Golf Championships working alongside the professionals at Straight Up Technologies (SUT).

Hands-on experience

SUT worked with MyMCT to help prepare the participants. “A few weeks prior to the event the MyMCT team supported the young people (including William) through the online modules,” says Kevin. “And then in came the team from SUT who turned our employment hub into a tech hub and engaged, trained, and empowered the young people during the two days of overview, training, practice, testing, interviews, social, and team building.”

“As a Cisco Partner, Straight Up Technologies finds the value of hiring Cisco Networking Academy talent for Straight Up Technologies to be priceless. Leveraging the budding talent who goes through the NetAcad program is vital to the growth of our business and our workforce initiatives. We have hired many successful NetAcad alumni who started as students in the program and now are leaders in our network engineering department,” said John Grindley, Head of Workforce Development and Special Projects at Straight Up Technologies.

“It was the highlight of my life,” says William. “I had studied hard for a good solid week completing the course and had two different interviews. I felt like it wasn’t real up until I’d actually made the placement. I had the biggest smile on my face all day!”

“When I was speaking to John Grindley from SUT for my last interview, he was so passionate about giving me a good experience at the Open and he really did pull through on every angle. It made me feel like I could end up with a career with SUT after being respected and acknowledged every day working for them.”

Landing a dream job

And it wasn’t only the IT work at Open Golf Championships that engaged William. “It sounded like an actual dream, considering my brother and I had recently found a passion for golf,” he says. “At the Open, there were countless celebrities… it’s just weird to think that I was involved and on the same course as them. All-around, working for the Open with SUT was my career high point.”



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