Training day

Training is a critical element in the ongoing development of an organization and its staff. In the first of a two part series, NME examines just what IT professionals are looking for in terms of skills training.

  • E-Mail
By  Sean Robson Published  February 9, 2009

Training is a critical element in the ongoing development of an organization and its staff. In the first of a two part series, NME examines just what IT professionals are looking for in terms of skills training.

It is not uncommon in the Middle East to hear IT managers lament the shortage of available skilled staff. The relative lack of numbers coupled with the employee churn many organisations experience has made skills training of vital importance to companies.

"Skills training is absolutely very important to us. We believe the process starts at the recruitment phase and the attempt to hire people with the right skills initially. We look at training as a non-negotiable element and when we hire people at the lower levels we are already looking towards future development and how we can help them progress," says Floor Bleeker, group director business solutions, Jumeirah Group.

Because of the training the staff receives we now do better at attracting and retaining talent. When you approach it from a purely IT services and projects point of view you see that we are able to deliver better quality services and projects to the business.

For some IT managers the skills training required is specifically aimed at the organisation's business requirements. "I find that Oracle retail training is lacking in the region. Oracle does offer such training but only on demand.

There is a need for regular training sessions and, apart from technical training, it should also cover business training on these applications," explains Mohammed Thameem Rizvon, group IT manager at the Kamal Osman Jamjoom group.

When it comes to specific skills much depends on the type of organisation and its business objectives. GV Rao, the general manager of ICT at United Development Company in Qatar, is in the process of centralising many of his systems and so the need for his employees to be skilled in the field of virtualisation is of paramount importance to him.

"The technology is constantly changing and we do not always have the time to update ourselves, but what I see from my side is that virtualisation training is one of the key areas I would like to concentrate on. There is also a need for skills training when it comes to business intelligence as well as security and risk assessment," Rao elaborates.

"IT delivers a service and so when it comes to delivering support for our end-users we need not only have the technical expertise and know-how but also good people skills," says Bassem Aboukhater, regional IT director MENA, Leo Burnett group.

Rizvon agrees that many technical professionals require specific business skills to deliver solutions more effectively to users. "In my opinion most technical professionals lack the aptitude to speak the business language with end-users and this in turn creates a communication barrier that affects the solutions developed and provided to the users," Rizvon says.

When it comes to training and the substantial investment that enterprises have to make, a number of prerequisites or conditions need to be taken into account.

"The relevance of the training to the job and career path comes first on my list of priorities and following that the cost and location are important as I'd rather use my budget on the training itself as opposed to the course and the often additional travel expenses," says Aboukhater.

"The appropriate course must meet the need of my business in terms of the content as well as the delivery mechanism of the training be it through a trainer or web learning. Just as important is the expertise of the actual trainer who needs to be completely skilled in the field," notes Rizvon.

Advantages of training

1. Skills training improves employee confidence and morale, making for more rounded and productive staff.

2. It creates an environment conducive to retaining talented staff. This is crucial in the region where staff turnover is an issue.

3. Improved and updated skills mean that an organisation can make use of these tools to give itself an edge.

4. The appropriate skills training can enable the IT department to deliver better quality service and projects to the business.

5. Improved knowledge concerning business aims and requirements means that IT is better prepared to deliver on business needs.

6. The constant progress in technologies and solutions means that IT personnel need to be trained in order to improve results.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code