Huawei ties up with regional education player Stage 2 Learning to meet demand gap in its IP certifications
In the early part of July 2011, Huawei Technologies signed up with Stage 2 Learning Solutions to provide the market with a datacom certification program. Stage 2 will now roll out the programme across UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.
For Saudi Arabia, Huawei has already signed up with Al Khaleej Group, which is also the holding company for Stage 2 Learning Solutions across these countries. In Saudi Arabia Al Khaleej Group also holds the rights for New Horizons, Direct English, Takniat for management classes, and other training franchises for language, marine studies and vocational training.
Huawei’s datacom certification programme involves three tiers of certification starting with the introductory Datacom Associate, the mid-tier Datacom Professional and advanced Datacom Expert. According to Huawei’s Michael Xiong, Director of Enterprise Solutions, more than 200,000 people in China were certified at the introductory level. Only 8-10% of the starting group finally reach the third expert certification level.
Says Xiong, “While the associate certification may not be enough it still means something in comparison to those not certified. However if you want to win the business from the customer you need to improve yourself.”
The pyramid like structure, starting with the large numbers of entry level certifications is important to maintain the final number of highly skilled certifications emerging at the top.
Formal classes across the centres will start from September 2011 and the target number of certifications in 2011 is expected to be around 500.
The initial batch of students will be made up of Huawei employees including technical sales and support staff and business partners, from across the region. Also in the initial ramp up phase, the instructors will be selected from Huawei’s pool of certified engineer employees and as the number of trained and experienced instructors goes up, the responsibility for managing instructor led training will shift to Stage 2’s own resources.
“It is a collaborative effort. As the vendor, Huawei knows the certification track they would do the training. We will do the marketing, customer service, scheduling, rotation of instructors and partnerships because we are just starting,” clarified Saudi based Al Waleed Al Dryaan, Chairman of Stage 2 Learning Solutions.
Currently Huawei has 11 local channel partners in the region one of which is INTC, the regional level master system integrator and go-to-market partner for its enterprise solutions. These include: routers, switches, unified communications and video conferencing.
With Huawei’s regional revenue sitting at $2.7 billion and growing at above 20%, employee strength at 4,000, there is enough backlog of student certifications from Huawei staff and partners to keep the training centres full for some time to come.
Huawei’s umbrella Learning Partner Programme also involves a contribution from the vendor in providing technical equipment infrastructure to be used as virtual demonstration labs. The equipment will simulate fully functional proof of concept equipment to help students familiarise themselves with real-life situations.
“They give you a huge discount on the labs and machines and that becomes their investment into the venture,” says Aldryaan. In the initial stages there will be two labs, one maintained at Dubai, UAE and the other operational in Saudi Arabia.
Moving ahead Huawei has plans to approach regional universities to participate in their career focussed education certifications. But the main driver will remain professional training emerging out of the mismatch between demand and supply for certified engineers.
“Technology is ever changing, that is where the gap comes in. The training business narrows the gap between what the industry used to know and what they should know,” says Aldryaan.
Huawei datacom certification programme
This is a three tier programme built around IP network technology. The training materials meet ISO9001/TL9000 quality assurance standards.
Huawei Certified Datacom Associate (HCDA): This is an entry level certification and covers IP networks, routing and switching technology, network security. It is meant to assist IP network maintenance engineers.
Huawei Certified Datacom Professional (HCDP): This program involves three knowledge streams including implementing enterprise routing network, enterprise switching network and improving network performance. It is meant to assist IP network commissioning engineers, IP network O&M engineers and IP network designers.
Huawei Certified Datacom Expert (HCDE): This program covers design and optimisation of large scale IP networks. It is meant to assist network architects, network designers, network advisory and guidance professionals.