Nortel offers free training - with a catch

Nortel Networks has announced an offer to provide resellers with free training to gain cetification by December or face a "review" of their reseller status.

The company is also offering resellers free training in voice fundamentals.

Nortel has set aside $500,000 to offer its reseller base the training and additional certification as the next stage of its Unified Networks strategy.

Gary Starr, Nortel's channel director, told ARN last week he believes four months notice is enough time to complete the course, pass the exams which incur a nominal fee, and gain certification.

"This is a chance to fast-track our partners' training."

Starr said he recognises he can't force resellers to complete the training, but if they chose to miss the opportunity it would cause the company to review that reseller's partnership status.

The training scheme coincides with a massive undertaking by the company to create a single channel and sales structure across the whole organisation.

Starr said the company must make sure the channel offers integrated voice and data services as part of its continued push into the IP world.

"We have experience over 100 years so we can offer the fundamentals of voice training," he said.

Meanwhile, Starr reports Nortel has more than doubled it head count at its Technical Support Centre in Sydney to around 80 people.

The centre has focused its attention on providing integrated support for telco products such as the Meridian and Passport PBXs in addition to its data networking equipment line.

Nortel is also boosting staff numbers in its Packaged Services area to support the channel. "We want to increase the uptake of services in the channel," Starr said.