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ATF initiative a good move

Word that BICSI has established its first authorized training facility (ATF) in Canada could not come at a better time. The IT skills gap waned somewhat during the recession, but as everyone expected, there was no way it would last. In fact,...


January 1, 2011  


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Word that BICSI has established its first authorized training facility (ATF) in Canada could not come at a better time. The IT skills gap waned somewhat during the recession, but as everyone expected, there was no way it would last.

In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Sapphire Canada and IBM Canada Ltd. (see p. 7) half of survey respondents now foresee an increased need for IT personnel in the near and long-term.

Sergio Mateus, president of Sapphire, a company that bills itself as the country’s largest provider of IT staffing solutions, said the results prove that employers are slowly taking off their “recession blinders.

“Our outlook is very positive for those looking for work in the IT sector,” he said. “IT has traditionally been one of the first industries to bounce back after a recession, and these results suggest demand for IT professionals is on the rise again.”

Conducted between June 28 and Sept. 6 of last year, a key finding, which ties into the recent BICSI announcement, is that infrastructure implementation and support skills are in high demand.

Upwards of 63% of the 300 respondents indicated they will be looking for infrastructure skills this year with Technical Project Managers, Network Architects & Specialists and Server Virtualization Specialists all in high demand.

In addition, 95% of respondents plan to either maintain or increase current staffing levels, the two organizations stated, “with the vast majority of these resources needed for projects related to collaboration (44%), security (25%) and cloud computing (18%).

As an ATF, Pearson Electrotechnology Centre in Lachine, Que. will use the same curriculum, classroom equipments and materials offered in BICSI-conducted classes. Individual trainers must be certified by BICSI.

BICSI says the purpose of the ATF program is to provide installers with increased access to training in the proper methods of installing data, voice and video cabling within the confines of a commercial building structure. This knowledge, it adds, is communicated through BICSI’s multi-level ITS Cabling Installation Training and Certification Program, which includes a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on learning labs.

Richard Smith, the organization’s former Canadian region director, said the school is “well positioned to begin graduating the next generation of information technology infrastructure technicians.”

According to Smith, the demand for this expertise is being driven by technological change and a retiring generation of expertise who maintained many forms of legacy technologies.

Bob Wylie, vice president of Datacentre, Workplace and Enterprise Services at IBM Canada couldn’t agree more.

“The network is starting to blend with the data centre,” he said at a recent press briefing held in Toronto to discuss the survey. “The cabling and the network devices are all coming together. What we are seeing is that customers need to have broader skilled teams. They have to have architects and designers who can look left and right across the technologies and be able to design solutions internally that are much broader than they were in the past.

“A data centre server project now requires network skills, LAN cabling skills, it requires the application team to be involved.