Distribution Central buys stake in training company

Distribution company's stake in Red Education will give resellers access to accredited vendor training and new services opportunities

Distribution Central has acquired a share in local training provider, Red Education, for an undisclosed sum.

Marketing director, Nick Verykios, said it had been bundling the company's training services for the past two years with services offered through its Firewall Systems and NetWorld Systems distribution divisions.

The new deal will see Red Education become a business unit under the Distribution Central masthead.

One of the major challenges for resellers was skilling up and gaining accreditations in new vendor technologies, he said.

"Part of Distribution Central's aim was to build a training partnership with emerging vendors who don't have local training staff," Verykios said. "We're assisting channel partners to meet vendor accreditation of which training is a key part."

Red Education was a relatively new company on the scene which had the ability to skill up with vendors quickly, he said.

"We didn't want to align with a training company that couldn't grow as fast as we have," Verykios said. "There's intellectual property in Red Education that we couldn't come up with ourselves, which is why we've bought into the company."

Red Education's founder, Rob Howard, said the alliance with Distribution Central would give it a stronger growth path by accessing more capital as well as a broader cross-section of the reseller community. Its six staff have been retained.

Red Education is an authorised training partner for F5, Fortinet, Blue Coat and Aruba Networks and will shortly become accredited for WatchGuard and AirMagnet. It provides ongoing training in most major capital cities across Australia.

The company's training services would continue to be sold through Firewall and NetWorld as well as independently to resellers, Verykios said. Red Education would also look beyond Distribution Central's existing vendors to provide vendor neutral architecture training.

"Red Education is not limited to our distributed vendors - they will do training for any vendor that values services for the channel to sell," he said. "Resellers will be able to use their [Red Education's] engineers to build their services capabilities up as well as provide end-user training.

"The channel gets to rebrand and on-sell these services to their customers."

Verykios said Distribution Central's back-end systems would be used to develop complementary programs around core training and accreditation services including identifying staff who already had vendor skills.

"When one person skills up in an organisation, they train up the people around them. When that person leaves, we can examine the situation and offer gap training for other staff," he said. "We will also track accredited engineers as they go into other positions within the channel."

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