Cisco Galway Partner with Age Action

Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in IT and networking, employing over 71,000 employees worldwide helping companies of all sizes transform how people connect, communicate, and collaborate. Cisco Galway employs just under 200 people at its Oranmore base and was recently named ‘Best Workplace’ in Ireland. Cisco Galway is major innovation hub and R&D site for Cisco’s Global Collaboration business suite in Communication Tools, and is home to leading innovations that remove barriers to accessing and using technology for work-based activities.

Cisco Galway have been working with Age Action for more than 5 years bridging the generational divide and giving computer classes to the more mature members of our community. Originally the computer classes were convened in local libraries or community halls, however, due to the lack of availability of locations, Cisco now bring the students of Age Action into the Cisco Galway offices. Cisco currently run 5 week courses with Age Action where the students come on site to get 1:1 tuition on anything technology related. This ranges from how to send a text message from a smart phone to booking a flight with an airline – and lots in between. Through this partnership staff in Cisco educate students to become computer literate and self-sufficient. At the end of the 5 week course a graduation ceremony is held and students are presented with a completion certificate.

Cisco Galway won the award for Excellence in Community Volunteering Multinational Category for their Age Action Classes at the Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2017 which were held on 7th September.

The Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards were established in 2004 to recognize the work being carried out by Irish and multinational companies to improve the lives of their employees and to enhance the civic environment in which they operate. The Awards offer the business community a chance to promote their efforts in CSR and gain recognition for best practice. The awards are presented in a variety of categories covering all areas of CSR.
The benefits for both the staff in Cisco Galway and the students of Age Action are fantastic according to Sheila Greaney, Project Specialist Cross Functional at Cisco Galway “mixing the young with the old is a cocktail for success for everyone involved!”

Cisco Galway In Partnership With Age Action

Students of Age Action who have undertaken the course have commented “I felt our hosts were most kind, welcoming and professional. I felt like an honoured guest. I am 67 and IT skills had passed me by, I was given an Ipad as a gift and it was in a drawer for over a year. Cisco has given me a "path" to a new lease in my life cycle. This is an international company, showing what a community, positive, interaction can look like. I have broken through a barrier, still very raw, but on the right road.” another said “thank you so much Cisco for a fantastic experience”.

These reactions speak volumes of what is achieved through these interactions and it is very much a two-way exercise. Giving back is what life should be all about and at Cisco it is hugely encouraged and supported which is one of the significant contributors to making it such a great place to work. Candice Lavender (Designer User Experience, Cisco Galway) said: “It’s fantastic to work for a company that not only supports but actively encourages its employees to take part in volunteer work to help in our local community. I have tutored in the Age Action programme a number of times over the years through Cisco’s support and it has always been a fun and rewarding experience.”

Joe Skehill, a Software Engineer by day, organises and manages the classes on site and says “It’s great to see the students getting to grips with technology. Often we see them have a 'Eureka' moment where they figure out something that has been previously beyond them. Once they get into the groove of learning new things, computers and IT start to have a really positive impact on their life. I remember students saying things like: ‘Computers always frustrated me but it’s great when someone helps you to get you started on the basics.’ Another student said ‘Making a start is the hardest part. Once you start using a computer you get interested in learning more’.

Patricia Brogan (Account Manager Sales): “It’s amazing to observe this group of individuals embrace technology & change and move outside their comfort zone. They deserve huge credit for their courage and wisdom. We can all learn from this experience and step outside our own comfort areas. They really are amazing." 

Cisco Galway receiving the CSR Award from Chambers Ireland and TD Sean Kyne.png

(Above) Cisco Galway receiving the CSR Award from Chambers Ireland and TD Sean Kyne L-R Ian Talbot (Chambers) John Costello Cisco, Helen Murray Age Action, Sheila Greaney Cisco, Sean Kyne TD, Anthony McLaughlin Cisco, Paul Kavanagh Cisco.

Case study created by Cisco Galway