Investment In Skills Lacks Incentives
April 7, 2014 Dan Burger
IBM‘s Global Skills Initiative, a plan to transition the training and education associated with IBM hardware and software to a select group of IBM business partners, was launched last July with four partners and a goal of tripling the number of people receiving IBM training by the end of 2015. Since that time, the global rollout has one geography, Latin America, that is yet to be onboard, and the original four partners, Arrow Electronics, Avnet, Global Knowledge, and LearnQuest, has grown to five with the addition of Ingram Micro. IBM only added Ingram Micro to its reseller channel in January 2013.
During a telephone conversation last week with Amy Purdy, director of technical training services at IBM, she explained the Global Training Providers (GTPs) are working to become established as training providers while discussing with IBM plans for expanding quickly. The 21 months ahead will be very busy indeed if the Global Skills Initiative training goal is to be reached. That, Purdy assured me, was the top priority of the GTPs.
On the other hand, I’ve been most interested in a different type of training. The kind that goes on at the collegiate level and is handled by another of Purdy’s programs called the IBM Academic Initiative. The Academic Initiative is designed to deliver young people with skills that relate to Power Systems, including IBM i, AIX, and Linux, and also the mainframe. From my perspective, the Academic Initiative for the mainframe has the most emphasis behind it, while the Power Systems AI could use a boost.
It seems to me, as I wrote in an article several weeks ago, that the Global Skills Initiative and the Academic Initiative should be a more collaborative effort rather than separate entities. Purdy agrees, but discussions on how that might be accomplished have only just begun. And on the priority list, this is not near the top.
One of the issues we discussed was that if the number of students getting an education that includes IBM Power technologies doesn’t increase, there pool of candidates for the global skills training will shrink and that should be a concern for the companies designated as global training partners.
The Academic Initiative creates the foundation for the deeper training that is in the hands of the GTPs. It begins with creating a stream of clients that speak the Power Systems language. That should be an incentive for the Global Skills Initiative training providers to play a role in boosting the Academic Initiative efforts.
Of course, the Power Systems users could also help things along by making a bigger fuss about the skills pipeline and also by taking a greater interest in modernizing the skills of their existing workforces.