An eye on training

Richard Firth, regional director, Middle East at Pearson in Practice, discusses the need for individuals to get IT certifications.

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An eye on training
By  Manda Banda Published  July 22, 2012

Richard Firth, regional director, Middle East at Pearson in Practice, discusses the need for individuals to get IT certifications.

Channel Middle East: Pearson in Practice has recently opened its first International Academy in Dubai. What is your vision for the Middle East region?

Richard Firth: Pearson is already known in the Middle East as a leader in its other operations including publishing, Pearson Vue and the Financial Times. We now want the market to know us as a leader in the provision of professional and vocational education. Our aim is to help job seekers develop the skills necessary to secure jobs, and then for them to continue to develop their careers through further development and certification.

CME: What is Pearson in Practices partner strategy in the region and which firms have shown interest in working with your organisation?

RF: We have two sectors we are interested in engaging with. Individuals who may be leaving full time education and who are wanting a route to higher education or employment, and then employers who we will work with us to provide  learning programme solutions, and to provide suitably qualified staff for internships or full time roles.

CME: Why is Pearson in Practice opening an Academy now?

RF: We have successfully built Pearson in Practice in the UK to be a leading provider of vocational and professional training and are now the leader in providing young people with the opportunity to enter the IT industry. We wanted to share this experience with other countries and as we have strong links with the UAE, this was the right choice.

CME: What countries in the Middle East will the Dubai office cover?

RF: We have plans to open further academies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, and Turkey.

CME: The need to help individuals get certified is immense in the region? Where is Pearson in Practice focusing its efforts?

RF: Our key target is to help people gain ‘job ready’ knowledge and skills to secure work and contribute to the IT industry. We will provide people with core skills and a broad platform of education through our internationally recognised BTEC Extended Diploma IT Programmes, supplemented by in demand additional international certification such as CompTIA’s A + programme.

CME: What can people and IT professionals wanting education and training expect from Pearson in Practice?

RF: We believe there is a market in the UAE for quality education and training where learners walk away from their learning and development programme with skills that will make a difference to the individual and to the employers they work for.

CME: What will be Pearson in Practices main focus for 2012 be in the region?

RF: We want to fully establish our first UAE academy in Dubai, but then open further academies in the UAE, followed by other centres in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In the UAE we are expanding our programme portfolio, to include new additional IT certification programmes such as CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials.

CME: How will Pearson in Practice build awareness for its programmes in the region?

RF: Pearson have been established in the Middle East already for a number of years, with 69,000 people using our curriculum and assessments, and we have built a reputation and track record in education that will assist us in building awareness.

CME: Which partners have you been working with in the past?

RF: Through our existing UK-based business we have built a solid network of alliances with many key stakeholders. Internationally, we have established relationships with 1,800 employers, 350 universities, and important certification partnerships as a Platinum Partner with CompTIA, a Silver Learning Partner with Microsoft, and an accredited centre for Edexcel and LCCI.

CME: How do you plan to change the mind set of employers in the Middle East region?

RF: Training is not given due attention in many organisations due to its reputation of not providing a good ROI. It is something that is sometimes seen as a nice to have but not essential. What we are aiming to do is to prove to employers that quality programmes can deliver business benefits to both the individual and to the organisation.

CME: What can the market expect from Pearson in Practice in 2012?

RF: We expect to be on track to establish a leading position in the UAE through our activities in developing young learners, and providing corporate learning solutions.

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