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General Chat Thread, Training Query in General; Not sure if this is the most appropriate subforum for this, but here goes (feel free to move if not) ...
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    Training Query

    Not sure if this is the most appropriate subforum for this, but here goes (feel free to move if not)

    Training, and how to obtain it.

    I've run up against a brick wall at my place - we're constantly being asked to produce new and shiny things, implement asked-for features and similar projects, but for the last 4 years+, there's been no training whatsoever for any of the technical support staff.

    During those 4 years we've gone through a total of 10 (!!) technical support staff, including those currently in the posts, but for some reason this obscenely high staff turnover hasnt caused SMT to bat an eyelid.

    Each time someone leaves the reason is very often, skills stagnation, and each time I approach Finance/SMT about training, the answer is always 'too expensive'.

    We can get a discounted rate via our LEA of around 300/day for MSFT courses, but it looks like the avalible training budget for non-teaching-staff for a year would pay for all of 1.5 days, for 1 person.

    Has anyone had any success actually getting SMT to listen to these kinds of problems - we're not going to retain skills if we arent prepared to invest in people. (Makes the produly-hung Investors In People award in reception rather amusing)

    Thanks

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Re: Training Query

    The way I've done it is to sign up for a 4 year contract, saying I won't leave for that time and they are paying for training for me. It has a 2 fold thing for me, in that it provides me with some form of job security (ie, they don't just get rid of me after my current 2 year contract) and I get trained... (I'm going to be doing the MCSA course).

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    Re: Training Query

    Interesting - we're both employed by the same LEA, but my place said they're explicitly *not* allowed to do tie-in contracts, due to LEA restrictions.

    (I suggested this as an option to avoid any possible train-and-run scenarios)

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Re: Training Query

    Ah, but I don't know and don't care about those sort of specifics... That is for my boss to get around. I haven't actually signed anything yet - as my boss is off sick - but we'll see when she gets back.

    I have no intention of training and running though - moving house is far too much hassle!

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    Re: Training Query

    Do you mean training for the Tech Support Staff ?
    If so, then really a great deal of it [ in my opinion ] should be off their own back. If something new is going to be implemented then I try and do as much research as I can into it. I agree that some training can be expensive - the MCSA courses are just a waste of time, and just churn out people who can cram the answers. I think that good CBTs - [ http://www.trainsignal.com/ ], books from Mark Minasi - [ http://www.minasi.com/ ], A Tech Net plus subscription - [ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx ] and an un-healthy interest in IT should get you by. :-)
    10 staff in 4 years though, thats gonna take some beating !! I take it your SMT didn't conduct the exit interviews ?

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    Re: Training Query

    There's always the EduGeek training seminars... make sure that the school pays expenses since they are too tight to cough up for 'proper' training.

    You will need to keep your eyes peeled for where and when they are but there will hopefully be more soon.

    Another option is to go for non-MS courses... the only decent ones that I know of are the ones run by ICTFocus at Lancaster University. If the school will pay expenses a train ticket should not cost too much and I know that people have stayed in the halls there overnight.

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    Re: Training Query

    SMT aren't worried because everytime someone new joins they go on the basic rate of pay.

    Maybe point out the cost of advertising and interviewing for new replacements against say a 3 day course at NEOs (for example) £300

    We are not too bad here, but I do have to beg and justify it a lot more than other departments do. Then it has to be as cheap as possible even if the quality suffers.

    All of us should do some personal training, mainly because our specialised trade requires knowledge across the IT spectrum, however if your employer wants to use a technology that is not on your career profile and is not in the job description then they should provide or obtain training for that subject.

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    Re: Training Query

    After 2 years in present job I asked to go on the NASA course at Lancaster (so I could be certified ) and my cluster paid for it (£575 IIRC) (It only costs each school an eighth each of course so its very cheap for them individually)

    Your place doesn't seem a very happy place to be and by the sounds of things nothings going to change.

    I think that really only leaves Plan B

    regards

    Simon

    PS And don't get me started on IIP - I know of places where public flogging of the staff is the norm and they've still been awarded it

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    Re: Training Query

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi
    After 2 years in present job I asked to go on the NASA course at Lancaster (so I could be certified ) and my cluster paid for it (£575 IIRC) (It only costs each school an eighth each of course so its very cheap for them individually)

    Your place doesn't seem a very happy place to be and by the sounds of things nothings going to change.

    I think that really only leaves Plan B

    regards

    Simon

    PS And don't get me started on IIP - I know of places where public flogging of the staff is the norm and they've still been awarded it
    Heh, I'm working on Plan B

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    Re: Training Query

    Quote Originally Posted by mattx
    Do you mean training for the Tech Support Staff ?
    If so, then really a great deal of it [ in my opinion ] should be off their own back. If something new is going to be implemented then I try and do as much research as I can into it. I agree that some training can be expensive - the MCSA courses are just a waste of time, and just churn out people who can cram the answers. I think that good CBTs - [ http://www.trainsignal.com/ ], books from Mark Minasi - [ http://www.minasi.com/ ], A Tech Net plus subscription - [ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx ] and an un-healthy interest in IT should get you by. :-)
    10 staff in 4 years though, thats gonna take some beating !! I take it your SMT didn't conduct the exit interviews ?
    Yes, exit interivews were done - nothing has come of them however.

    Several support members agreed to stay on after previously giving their notices due to problems here in the past, myself included, with the promise of future training.

    Naturally, we keep as current as we can regarding the technologies we use, but there's always more to learn - and only so much you can do in those elusive 5 minute breaks between things going wrong

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    Re: Training Query

    £300 a day for training is bonkers (if I have read that right) are you talking for a couple of you? You should be looking at £100 per day each.
    Once you have been on a course or two you will find you will be able to do the exams just using the books.

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    Re: Training Query

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH
    £300 a day for training is bonkers (if I have read that right) are you talking for a couple of you? You should be looking at £100 per day each.
    Once you have been on a course or two you will find you will be able to do the exams just using the books.
    You read it wrong :P £100/day x 3 = £300

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    Re: Training Query

    What we got quoted by our LEA/CC was 300/day/person - apparently their discounted rate.

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    Re: Training Query

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH
    £300 a day for training is bonkers (if I have read that right) are you talking for a couple of you? You should be looking at £100 per day each.
    Once you have been on a course or two you will find you will be able to do the exams just using the books.
    You've never done a SIMS course then....or even worse, had them come out to you 8O

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    Re: Training Query

    Quote Originally Posted by derer1
    What we got quoted by our LEA/CC was 300/day/person - apparently their discounted rate.
    You're being ripped off. They are charging the commercial rate not a discounted rate for education establishments.

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