Training in the tropics

If location, location, location is the key to property investment, could it also impact on training investment?

And what if that training location is a tropical island close to the Thai mainland? Absolutely, says Paul Valente, but then he has recently opened the Samui Training Centre, which is offering a range of instructor-led, hands-on courses featuring Red Hat Linux among others.

Popular IT certifications such as CompTIA Linux+ and MCSE are the first instructor-led vendor-approved courses on offer, but will later include seminars on IT outsourcing and executive level business communications, Valente said.

“As more and more Linux PCs and servers are deployed, standardization of the Linux professional’s knowledge base is becoming more and more essential,” Valente said.

Valente said the centre’s efforts to create an IT training facility in a tropical paradise had previously been thwarted by the region’s usual lack of access to reliable electrical, Internet and communications infrastructure. The recent construction of the Information Technology Complex near Lamai Beach on the island paradise of Koh Samui, the centre could go ahead.

“Even if you offer the best accommodations package in the world at the lowest price, you can’t have a technical training centre without redundant power and high-speed Internet,” Valente said.

The island is less than an hour’s flight from Bangkok International Airport and was made popular a decade ago by the novel The Beach and is a popular tourist destination for its beach, diving and snorkelling. The centre, which held its first courses in March this year, offers 15 different courses so far and plans to expand within six months to Cisco and possibly LPI and/or Red Hat.

“We have five-day courses scheduled every week throughout 2004, and a few two- and three-day courses in the program. We just acquired additional classrooms and will be increasing capacity over the next few weeks as well as publishing our schedule for 2005.”

Valente said instructors for the courses, which have a maximum of 15 students, are drawn from the US.

He said an Australian contact will be named shortly for the course and travel packages which offer CompTIA 5/5 training-vacation package (Linux+ or Network+) at $A1800 and include training, courseware textbook and CDs, transfers, 10 days accommodation, meals, and sightseeing. There is also a Microsoft 5/5 training-vacation package (MCSE/MCSA 2000/2003) with similar inclusions at $A2350.

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