Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the channel has looked for training and enablement in order to keep skills sharp and utilise the time that engineers have been unable to visit customer sites.
Vendors have made more online training available and there have been numerous virtual seminars reaching out to resellers to provide them with information.
Tech Data has indicated that it is choosing to mirror the way it has been deepening the skills of its sales staff over the past three years with the launch of its IT Hardware Technical Apprenticeship.
Seven staff across Tech Data will be enrolled on the scheme, which will take them through a series of training modules over the next 15 months. The teaching, some of which is provided by training specialist CompTIA, will cover topics such as cyber security and DevOps, and ITIL4 project management training. At the end of the process, the staff will have gained six recognised technical accreditations.
Andy Brown, technical services director at Tech Data, UK and Ireland, said: “We had already adopted a policy of promoting from within and that evolved into the idea of a full-blown apprenticeship scheme. The sales programme has been a great success and we’re hoping we can reach the same high standards with the technical version.
“This is a positive investment in the professional development of our colleagues and a commitment to helping them develop their capabilities and careers. Ultimately, it is all about delivering the highest standards and quality of service and support to our reseller partners.”
The distributor has experience in putting staff through programmes and hopes that the hardware technical scheme can be as successful as its sales-focused apprenticeship programme.
Sandie Jackson, apprenticeship programme manager at Tech Data, UK and Ireland, said it had been running that sales scheme for two years and had already seen the benefits.
“The sales apprentices follow a carefully planned and structured programme,” she said. “They learn about their own strengths and weaknesses, plus how to work as a team. Capturing the enthusiasm, encouraging drive, getting the buy-in from managers across the business to support the scheme and only releasing the apprentices to teams when they are ready are also important.”
Of the 13 who took part in the apprenticeship scheme last year, nine moved into full-time roles and three others decided to go on to university instead. Of the 2019 cohort, seven remain, with some already moving into business development or category management posts.