Xwave brushes up on IT skills with training sessions

IT services company xwave has signed a three-year training services agreement with Polar Bear Corporate Education Solutions, a division of CrossOff Inc.

Under the agreement, Polar Bear of Halifax is delivering professional IT and business skills training to 1,600 employees in xwave’s offices

in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. The training began in May.

Rob Simpson, director of marketing at Polar Bear, said his firm recommends training plans for xwave employees based on their skill levels. The nature of the training offered involves “”professional development for technical staff that work in various disciplines that require a very high skill level. So we’re talking about people like systems administrators, anyone with a technical designation or software developers, project managers, systems analyst.””

“”Also it could involve project management,”” added Laura Phillips, director of consultant services for xwave’s office in St. John’s. “”Really, we left it fairly broad on the basis that they could provide to us not just their basic course offerings, but that we could work together to develop customized training offerings as needed.””

Glenn Grouchy, Polar Bear’s district sales manager for Newfoundland, said the relationship the two now have is based on a preferred vendor arrangement.

xwave, a division of Aliant, has used Polar Bear “”a fair bit”” in the past for technical training, explained Phillips, but this new deal gives an opportunity to expand the relationship.

Phillips said now xwave can more effectively outline its training needs, including just-in-time requirements, because of Polar Bear’s strategic location relative to xwave.

“”Some of what we’ve encountered in the past —— especially here within Newfoundland but to somewhat the same degree within Atlantic Canada —— is the (inadequate) accessibility of some of the technical training. So this enables us to plan it a little bit better and also will enable us to train more people to make more effective use of our training dollars.””

Under the new partnership, Phillips said, xwave was able to offer local training for a few employees after Polar Bear organized a class for clients on the East Coast, a more economical option than flying staff to Ottawa or another city holding specific courses.

For employees, xwave’s latest moves demonstrate a commitment to continue training opportunities and may be a factor in luring prospective workers, Phillips added.

Polar Bear, whose clients include major banks, insurers, telecommunications firms and government, charges an average $400 per day for technical courses and about $200 per day for application training, said Simpson.

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