Com Tech: IT training still a high priority

Com Tech: IT training still a high priority

In a skill-strapped industry, Com Tech Education Services' (CTES) completion of its third annual training survey has highlighted the significance of training in the retention of employees.

Surveying the students of its 80 courses on Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, Lotus, Citrix, Checkpoint and A+, CTES has established that 70 per cent of its students rate training as the number-one incentive for staying in a job.

Steve Ross, CTES' general manager, rationalised this figure as a response to IT staff wanting "career security as opposed to job security. Technical skills allow people to be mobile if they need to be."

From an employer's perspective, the ability to get up and go to another job at any given moment isn't exactly reassuring. However, according to Ross, the report indicates that "there is a finite global pool of highly skilled IT professionals. Organisations are snapping up the best they can find from this pool without replenishing it by skilling up and leveraging the potential of existing talent.

"In the long run, by not providing training opportunities organisations are shooting themselves in the foot," he claimed.

The report also suggested that businesses have partially recognised the importance of training, with 45 per cent of respondents claiming their organisations have increased training expenditure in the last year, a quarter of those by more than 50 per cent.

Fifty per cent of employees estimate that two weeks of training each year is required to maintain skill levels and keep them committed to a particular company. However, organisations are falling short of this demand with only 27 per cent of businesses offering two to four weeks of training. Not only does this affect an employee's desire to stay with the company, it means that the business has non-certified employees with outdated information, as 47 per cent of people demand training to increase their knowledge and 30 per cent to gain certification.

And with 77 per cent of technical workers admitting that certification is more important than their university degrees, on-the-job training is highly relevant to an effective work place and a happy employee, Ross explained.

According to the survey, the most popular certification in 1999 remained the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with 57 per cent of students enrolling in the course. Microsoft Certified Professional and Certified Novell Engineer were equal second on 16 per cent, followed by Certified Novell Administrator certification on 15 per cent and Certified Lotus Professional on 10 per cent. Cisco certification came in at 5 per cent and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer achieved 3 per cent of the student votes.

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