Recognising a need for specialised training that gives business users practical high-end skills they can implement immediately, BI Planning Services (BIPS), which designs, develops and deploys data warehouses, Business Intelligence and Performance Management solutions, has launched Dexford Learning Academy.

Daphne Seiler, CEO at Dexford Learning Academy, says: "Despite the fact that there are numerous training organisations out there our clients have continuously requested training from us directly.
"Learning has become an important component of business and is driven by the rebate requirements of the Skills Levy as well as BEE ratings. However, there is a growing demand for specialised courses that deliver practical value and maximise staff productivity.
"The Dexford Learning Academy, which is black-empowered, will thus focus on meeting the needs of business users with technical courses on the operation of key BI-related Cognos and Microsoft applications. This will be complemented by soft skills courses and one-day business seminars."
The Academy will differentiate itself by ensuring that its courses deliver in-depth and practical know-how that cannot be obtained by attending more generalised courses.
"We will focus on high-end training that is action packed and practical, ensuring business users, such as financial managers and executives, can immediately apply what they have learnt and get instant value from their training," says Seiler.
'Excel on Steriods' for financial managers, as well as courses on MS Project and SQL Server 2005 will be available with customised training designed to meet the specific requirements of different organisations. "For example, a general course on MS Project may leave users without the extensive knowledge of how to draw up a 'scope of work'. We can design courses that directly solve these issues."
Soft skills training, such as business writing and time management training, will assist executives that have come up through the ranks or those that need further grooming, while dynamic one-day seminars on different business topics will motivate attendees and give them practical tools with which they can immediately improve their business performance.
Notes Seiler: "BIPS is a Microsoft partner and Dexford is applying for the vendor's learning competencies. We are in the process of attaining finalisation on key certifications and accreditations for our courses, namely Microsoft and ISET Seta training accreditation.  A memorandum of understanding is also in the process of being drawn up with the Services Seta to get all the Academy's soft skill courses accredited.  BIPS is already certified to offer Cognos training."
The Academy will not have an international testing centre. "However, end user courses are mapped to the unit standards specified by the DCH Seta and Microsoft and Cognos courses are presented on the exam criteria. This means students will be equipped to write international certification exams with organisations such as Prometric and VUE should they wish to do so."
The Academy was launched at the beginning of February and will offer a full complement of courses by the end of 2007 when it will begin to operate as an independent unit of BIPS.