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Case Study

New Hire Training Program Delivers Pass Rates and Knowledge Retention


Worldwide Leader in Networking (WLN)

The worldwide leader in networking for the Internet produces hardware, software, and service offerings. These systems are used to create Internet solutions that enable individuals, companies, and countries to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and strengthen competitive advantage. The organization's sales force is comprised of sales representatives and systems engineers who must be technically competent, certified, and knowledgeable to gain and maintain market share.


Highly Technical Training for a Young and Intelligent Workforce

WLN found it was time to invest in hiring and training a new, highly qualified and certified sales force that could hit the ground running through an associate systems engineers training program.

The highly technical nature of the associate systems engineers training requires comprehensive delivery in a wide variety of learning methods. Each group of new associate systems engineers is comprised primarily of recent college graduates who have little or no systems engineering experience. To earn the four major certifications necessary to start a career, the company required these future employees to enter a 12-month training regimen at their facility in Research Triangle Park, NC.

WLN needed a partner they could trust to deliver flexible and effective certification exam preparation and hands-on training for a young and inexperienced, but highly intelligent team. Based on a previous working relationship, WLN asked us for program recommendations.


Flexible, Scalable, and Cost-Effective Training

We began with a meeting that included several WLN managers who explained the project scope, timeline, program goals, and previous training challenges. We explored their strategic goals and objectives as well as the individual students' needs, developing a comprehensive, blended learning solution to meet all the needs of the newly hired associate systems engineers. Upon review of our program recommendation, WLN quickly approved the plan based on its flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

WLN began implementing the associate systems engineers New Hire Program, which included the following elements: instructor-led training, hands-on labs, technical on-demand e-Learning content, competitive case studies, program management and tracking, and peer interaction.

The program was comprised of two major components: the certification block and the advanced technology block. The certification block included training for the four core Cisco certifications: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA), and Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP). The advanced technology block included a separate set of advanced technical courses focused on specialized areas such as voice over Internet (VoIP), security, and wireless technologies.

The first week of each course was led by an instructor. The following week, instructors returned Thursday and Friday for a comprehensive exam review, allowing students several days in between classroom training for hands-on labs, studying, and practicing. The program's on-demand e-Learning course materials provided students with yet another method for exam preparation. We provided 24/7 access to the materials and labs, and we offered self-test software for all four certifications so students could take practice certification exams prior to the real thing.

With such a wide variety of training courses, the equipment needs were considerable. Instead of shipping equipment for every training course, we designed, customized, and purchased "Superkits" to reduce overall equipment fees. One Superkit included all the equipment required for the Certification block courses and the second Superkit provided all the equipment students needed for the Advanced Technology block courses. This unique approach also provided students with access to the lab equipment 24/7, which was extremely helpful for students who needed extra lab time or for those who wanted to work during off hours.


Exceptional Instruction, Program Management, and Outstanding Pass Rates

We were able to design, plan, and implement the associate systems engineers New Hire Program in approximately three months. The program has been so successful that the relationship has continued for consecutive years and has expanded worldwide. Many new associate systems engineers are experiencing outstanding pass rates, with many classes enjoying 100 percent of the students passing the certification exams on their first attempt.

The key to the program's success is in the unique training provided by our highly skilled instructors. A rigorous and lengthy training program such as this requires engaging personalities to keep a young and intelligent group of students interested. Our instructors utilize white boards, dialogue, and interaction to truly impact the students and improve their ability to pass the certification exams.

"Our relationship has been extraordinarily successful for a number of reasons," explained Eric Strause, Senior Product Director at Global Knowledge. "We operate as true partners. As partners, we assume responsibility for their success, and, therefore, failure is not an option. Our approach has reduced training costs over time and continues to turn out highly trained and certified systems engineers."