Earlier this month we partnered with The Catena Company, to license our custom training courses to the Belgium training market. The Catena company has been a trusted Apple Training Partner for quite some time and have a long-standing relationship with Apple.
In today’s blog, Alex Hawes, our Managing Director and Eddy Smets, Catena’s CEO, discuss their recent collaboration and the future of the European Apple Training Market.
The Catena Company
The Company’s founders were pioneers in the Belgian market, spearheading the commercial expansion of official Apple Training over a decade ago. But even before that official foray into the market from Apple, Catena were offering training and education to IT professionals who were wanting to build Apple expertise.
Eddy Smets from the Catena Company explains:
“By establishing an ‘Apple Authorized Training Center’ channel, Apple added quality control, supervision and ultimately, consistency to the process.
Since that time, the Apple training marketplace has undergone a real transformation in terms of growth. If I recall correctly, back in 2003 there were only six training partners for the whole of Europe. Over the intervening years, the business has grown immensely and there are now a few hundred partners worldwide, and of course much of that expansion has been in Europe.
During that time, we met Alex Hawes from Amsys, they being an Apple Training Partner from the very early days of Apple expanding its training and support service network.”
Amsys content development in the UK
In addition to being a Training Partner, Amsys is also an Apple Authorised Service Provider. They are the biggest European Training Partner, training in excess of 1500 students a year on a range of Apple technology courses.
“Market needs, Apple growth, and the demand for products and services, have been catalysts for exponential growth in the training business.” states Alex Hawes.
“This is further supported by increased uniformity in training content, a specific certification roadmap, and a worldwide consumer market.”
Eddy Smets continues: “Still there was an ever-present demand for derivative or more specialised training, beyond the generic Apple Authorised offering. As Apple consultants, we are in touch with the daily reality of what people are doing, so we get a good feel for the needs and wishes of businesses.”
Alex, experienced the same issues in the UK: “Our demographic market is larger than in Belgium. This allowed us to develop and commercialise proprietary training programs. Our instructors work together on our course content and structure, striving to achieve the same quality in our own proprietary programs, as in the Apple endorsed ones.
So whilst Apple focuses on generic courses, we can also offer more specialised instruction that caters for the needs of the technicians who are deploying these technologies.”
Amongst other topics, this led to courses for specialists deploying Apple OS X devices in Enterprise Networks, or for those responsible for integrating Apple OS X devices with Directory Services.
Catering for specialists trained on Windows is another popular avenue of training. This involves supporting the integration of Mac devices with Windows machines, and vice-versa, in configuring Windows servers for Mac clients.
Joining for forces to create a broad, top quality offering:
“We strive to offer the best, but it isn’t always easy, – or indeed smart – for a business to try to achieve things in isolation.” Explains Eddy Smets. “In the past we provided custom training, coaching and advice. But in spite of our considerable experience in the field, much of the demand in Belgium is still not quite large enough to make the development of our own content an economical proposition.
That said, with iOS, we see a new market opening up, with its own specific needs in regard to development and deployment. So, being the proactive Apple consultants and trainers that we are, we are keen to be once again at the forefront in addressing these new demands. Teaming up with Amsys has facilitated our desire to lead from the front, and it’s a union which benefits Amsys as much as it does Catena.”
Alex Hawes adds. “We carry the investment for the marketplace, developing programs which allow other training centres to license this content from us. It’s a situation which makes economic sense for everyone involved; we are as happy to be in a position to offer our courses in Belgium through The Catena Company, as I’m sure they are in being able to present such courses.
And I’m further sure that deploying our training and content abroad in a larger market can only serve to improve the quality of content and trainers alike. Moreover – and as Eddy mentioned – the experience and feedback gathered by the Catena Company trainers presents us with invaluable ‘boots on the ground’ knowledge of a market they know well, which assists in the further development of training content.”
All in all it’s a win-win situation, a symbiotic relationship which can only cement continued improvement. But the biggest winner of all is the trainee of course, as a larger array of what is already high-quality training, becomes ever-more finely attuned to the needs of those at the forefront of IT in Europe.