Myles Brown, technical practice lead for ExitCertified’s Cloud and DevOps training attends the Microsoft Ignite conference in Toronto and shares his experience and tips.
A well-trained staff is one that has increased skills to do their job more effectively and efficiently. And when it comes to mapping out training plans for your department or organization, careful planning ensures that training funds don’t simply disappear at the end of the fiscal year. While in the private sector, budget allocation and spending frequently vary in terms of amounts and timing, within the Canadian government, there is a specific point in time, March 31st , when all training must have been completed.
While private sector training planning can be sporadic, occurring throughout the year as needs arise, typically within the Canadian Federal Government, there is a rush to book all training courses between February and March. While most requests can be accommodated, to ensure class location and adequate classroom size, ExitCertified recommends initiating the training planning and procurement process early on before the “mad rush” to enroll students in the appropriate technical courses. This is especially recommended for situations where group training / scheduling is the preferred course delivery method.
As many departments within the Canadian government require training and certification in order to even use the technology (e.g., Oracle, SAP, IBM, Cisco) within their departments, it is imperative for these departments to get their core personnel trained so that those employees can use the tools required for their job. Essentially, if they are NOT trained in the needed technology, they simply are not allowed to use it.
In fact, the Canadian government buying patterns are changing. While traditionally, the least expensive solutions were typically the ones procured, with the cloud services, particularly Amazon Web Services (AWS), having more availability as an offering within Canada, there has been increased focus by Canadian governmental departments to employ more of a “mix and match” approach. So, instead of the lowest pricing getting the business, it has become more of a selection of the most appropriate cloud technologies for the job. And consequently, there is an increased demand for cloud services training like AWS.
Learn more about public, private or custom training for government personnel or contractors
As a responsibility to the Crown, price is a factor when it comes to government employee training. Canadian government departments have an annual budget for departmental training spend as well as allocations for individual self-improvement or professional-development course work.
ExitCertified works directly with Canada’s Public Works department to facilitate and streamline the planning of government employee training. ExitCertified has a Standing Offer in place which essentially means that they have pre-negotiated discounted prices available to all the various government agencies.
By using the Standing Offer pricing, government agencies and departments are not required to get multiple quotes from other training vendors, a process that can be time-consuming and even frustrating. In fact, ExitCertified is the sole source in Canada of SAP training (over 5,000 courses) available under a Standing Offer contract.
Denis Lu, who leads the training procurement for the Canadian Federal Government at ExitCertified offers the following tips:
Don’t wait until the February to March timeframe to begin planning or booking training.
As a last-minute resort, utilize self-paced, individual training to lock in spending for next year’s budget.
Don’t worry if you don’t have enough employees to fill a class – Denis and his team will optimize the scheduling of students and classes and will mix and match students from other departments.
As is typical with most government agencies, payment is typically made after the service is performed. To this end, ExitCertified is flexible when it comes to the payment process. In fact, ExitCertified can help agencies actually navigate through their own procurement process to make the process much more efficient and time effective.
Planning Ahead Ensures Your Staff Is Well-Trained
If government departments have a requirement for training specific to the skills of their employees, as well as a “use it or lose it” declaration related to budgets, and if they don’t prepare for training ahead of time, there is a good chance that next year, they will not have the funds to do the required training.
But generally, ExitCertified is available to assist in ensuring a seamless training process. For example, as travel budgets are restrictive within Canada currently, there are ways to set up virtual or hybrid training classes (a mixture of virtual and physical) to ensure that employees are trained within the required timeframe.
With ExitCertified iMVP virtual training platform, employees can be remotely trained while enjoying the in-class experience at the same time. So, if managers are unable to secure the approvals (or budget) to fly their employees to Ottawa (the main hub for training) to attend a training course in-person, ExitCertified will work to ensure that those employees can be trained from a remote location using iMVP.
In terms of lead time to set up a training course, most vendors require four to eight weeks of lead-time. Obviously, the more advanced planning you can make, the better. However, if the timing is short or the procurement process particularly complicated, ExitCertified can streamline the process and shorten the timeline as needed.
“We are extremely flexible with everything we do whether it comes to financial processes, scheduling, working with government internal employees, contracting, whatever the case may be,” says Denis. “We try to make things as simple and convenient as possible."