Michael Smith: There remains a significant shortage of trained IT professionals in the CEE region

Michael Smith is Director for EMEA region at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. We asked him a few questions regarding the New Horizons group and the IT training needs in Eastern Europe.

Which are the best New Horizons centers in Europe and why?

New Horizons prides itself on having a focus on customer service excellence and the quality of our training and processes. In 2009 we introduced our 5-star award to recognize the best of the best in relation to our centers that were excelling in these areas. The 5-star award focuses on the centers strategic alignment, performance growth and Learning effectiveness, to include of course client satisfaction. Our first winner of the award in Europe was our center in Hamburg, Germany. This center has the customer at the heart of everything they do and the Hamburg team are constantly innovating as they develop customized solutions that fit their client’s needs.

What were the major training events within the New Horizons group for 2010?

We continue to grow in the region. So far in 2010, we have opened new locations in Sweden, Italy, Germany, Romania, Israel and Albania. We also have several new locations in the pipeline including the first of which will be in the Czech Republic in January 2011.

Will you give us a hint of what’s planned within the New Horizons group for 2011?

We will continue to have a heavy focus on growing our network of locations and in expanding the range of our services. In 2010 we have grown our product range significantly, with an emphasis on flexibility for our customers. We have what we feel is the most flexible range of solutions on the market for our clients with our award winning Mentored Learning, our rapidly expanding Virtual classroom offerings via our OnLineLive platform and our excellent Knowledge Anytime Labs on demand. We recently launched our first range of 64 bit labs to enhance this portfolio of services and we will continue to invest heavily to bring our clients the solutions they need for the Microsoft, Cisco and many other technology areas.

What is your tentative forecast for the IT training needs in the next 3 years in Eastern Europe and Bulgaria?

Our clients in Central and Eastern Europe are also telling us they need real flexibility but that the reliability of their training provider is key. They want to ensure that classes are not cancelled and they also want where possible to have a single go to partner whether they need E-Learning, Virtual Classroom or more traditional methods of learning (or as is often the case a combination of methods). At New Horizons we aim to offer our clients this flexibility, but with the wide range of delivery options that can also give our clients the reassurance that training can be available when they want it at their time of need that we do not cancel.
We see increased demand to train new IT Professionals in the CEE region, as there remains a significant shortage of people with the right skills in the region as a whole, something recognized by National Governments and the EU alike. We will continue to work closely with our strategic partners such as Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA to target these skills gaps and ensure we help Bulgaria and surrounding countries in growing the skilled individuals they need to stay competitive.

Thank you, Michael.

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