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The (apparently) infamous skillstrain?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Cryos, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Cryos

    Cryos New Member

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    First of all, I'm a new member, so, hiya folks :), sorry for not introducing myself for anything if thats standard.

    I'm 18, fresh out of A levels and I got a brochure for skillstrain I sent off and they sent me an advisor, and if I continue the way hes suggested and the way I'm feeling inclined I'll be doing an A+ and an N+ followed by an MCSE with them. I searched here and found some of the nasty comments about them. Worry not, I'm not here to defend or agree yet.

    Instead I thought I'd post what the advisor has told me, and he didn't seem like a salesman, I've not had any deposits or anything like that needed that I hear about from folks, the only payment they ask is 20-30 a week, the exact figure keeps eluding me, but it's definitly between 20-30, resulting, like others said, at about 2500 pounds for the whole course, more for me because it's 3 degrees, obviously.

    Anyway, they now apparently guarantee you in more ways, they guarantee you a job at the end, and even get you jobs after your first degree, (your A+, say, for me) if you need them, if your jobless 8 weeks after your course, they let you keep your certificates and refund you. If you fail, they let you take it again. There are apparently no other fees.

    Now, again, all from him, in light of the board, I'm going to ask him about these things when he calls me tommorow, maybe ask him for these things in writing. If I embark the on the course, I'm going to try and remember to come back here and let you guys know about it.

    So, what do I want? Can anyone on a course or who did a course with them give me some honest feedback? I'm aware we need to take the opinions with a pinch of salt already, did some broswing :). I'm sorry this post was long, thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I had the advisor talk - get it in writing. And get him to sign it. In his blood, preferentially. :)

    I have no problems at all with Skillstrain/Scheidegger, as I well advertise around the boards.

    However, they can't promise you things like you've stated - and I certainly wasn't promised a refund for 8 weeks jobless after completion (for A+, N+, CCNA, CCNP)

    This kind of industry is too volatile - jobs cannot be guaranteed to anyone, in any position, anywhere.

    the courses are good (I pay £25 a week) and the tutors are quickly repsonsive, and quite forthcoming in info.

    Just treat the 'we guarantee this, you will earn this, we'll refund this' with a huge pinch of salt, and read the fine print.

    The failure and retake is true - but not for the Comptia courses themselves - this is in the fine print. You sit an in-house exam. If you fail that, you retake for free.

    If you're after any info, or a lengthy discussion (these posts haven't exactly been short!!!) pop me a PM.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  3. Weemez

    Weemez Kilobyte Poster

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    I'm with Arroryn on this one, there has been plenty slagging matches about certain providers but i have to agree that they have been very responsive with my query's, i was given the same promises about employment after completion but that just isn't how the world works.

    I also am paying £100 a month for the pleasure.
     
    Certifications: HNC Computing A+ N+ ICND1
    WIP: ICND2
  4. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Please bear in mind that these are not degrees, and will in no way count, or be considered as such by employers
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  5. Cryos

    Cryos New Member

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    Sorry, thats my language skills and lack of experience there, calling them degrees :oops:, degrees are only the big things you get from Universities, yeah? I meant..certificates..er..skills, whats a good general name for 'em? Feeling dense asking these things, sorry.
     
  6. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Just making sure it wasnt the salesman trying to lead you on :)
    We call these 'Certifications'
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  7. g3

    g3 New Member

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    do they offer email and phone responce when you need help and do you have to send them course work that you have done like in stages which the other providers do. What im looking for is a course where I get set work to do posted or emailed to me and i do it and send it off to be marked.

    cheers
     
  8. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    You get the set work to do with your folder for each section of the course - support is all via email or phone. You send off your assignment (I've found online submission to be fastest - they don't actually allow 'email' submission now) and receive unlock codes for the next stage/assignment when you receive the pass mark.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  9. g3

    g3 New Member

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    The thing is im not bothered about doing the exam i ive been told that if you have no experience yet in the industry and you have a MCAD for example, companies wont take you seriously, is this true.
     
  10. Weemez

    Weemez Kilobyte Poster

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    That is pretty much the case g3, the good guys on here have instructed me to get involved anywhere i can e.g helping freinds with their pc's, even voluntary work just to get your hand in.

    I suppose with any other industry it would be the same, an electrical contractor wouldn't employ somebody that has just read some books on the subject.

    It is a sticky situation but i wish you all the best. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: HNC Computing A+ N+ ICND1
    WIP: ICND2
  11. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    This is a question for those of you using the training company being referred to on this thread. I'm not being sarcastic or anything else. I'm just really curious as I don't see any real value in it.

    From what I've been reading you are doing self-study at home and your only contact is through email or the web. What convinced you to pay as much money as you are each month for the privilege of teaching yourself?
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  12. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Initially it was the 'support' enhancement of it. And the tests at the end. And the fact that there's a deadline. I wasn't really motivated to do it, and the tests/deadlines set in place by a trainer help keep me focussed - and I would have spent the same amount setting up a personal lab to learn all this stuff. It isn't completely web based - there will be hands on labs for everything, especially when the CISCO side of things kicks in.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  13. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    OK. I never looked at it from that point of view. I'm just so self-motivated, and like learning so much, that having someone looking over my shoulder to keep me going didn't even enter my mind. I can see where that would have value to people. However, having a lab once you're done with the testing is a very valuable thing to have. It can be used for further study and reducing the costs of, if you plan on further study, the next certs you plan on studying. Besides, I've just never found that I learn as much if I can't physically put my hands on something, and I tend to forget what I learned much faster.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  14. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    It's a fair comment on the labs - and one I'll wing for the A+ and N+. But the CISCO courses will be a stinger. I've got a home network already set up, been static for a couple of years now, with various upgrades. However, CISCO will be a brand new (and very expensive) beast, and I'm anticipating it with dread!
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  15. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I passed my CCNA using a simulator. I really didn't find the CCNA all that difficult, at least not compared to what I had heard it would be. But then I really like networking. It seems to come pretty naturally to me.

    However, I wish I had been able to build a lab of several routers and a couple of switches. It would have been much better and I wouldn't be forgetting my IOS commands as I am now. I used the Boson NetSim, and although I didn't find out until after I rebuilt my workstation, it expires at the end of 1 year and you can't reinstall it, so keeping current is very hard. Boson never used to advertise at all that their software expired after one year and it really pissed me off when I couldn't reinstall. They had finally worked out some of the bugs that made parts of it basically unusable, and then they jerked my license at the end of the year. :x

    I've worked with technical hardware almost all my life so actually having a router or switch in my hands wasn't that important to me. I'd just like to have had the permanency of having the hardware to work with and play with after I was done studying.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  16. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Ha Ha Ha :biggrin
    You can't say that here mate!
    That's like going in to a great big prison and asking them all what they're in for.
    You'll either start them crying or they'll throw things at you.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  17. Psycow

    Psycow New Member

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    Sorry, but I wouldn't trust anything there salespeople say. Had no help from them in finding a job (with Comptia A+ and 5 years experience) even though this was the key asurance that made me sign up with them (biggest and costliest mistake ever), you don't get to write any exams or tests with them untill the whole course is completed (even though during the sales pitch you are promised a placement with one of there trusted partner companies as soon as you finished the N+), the telephonic support and feedback from the tutors are usually along the lines of "go read that section again". As for quick response to your TMA, was ok during N+, MCSA now on 4 weeks and counting after sending it twice already. I wont recomend them at all, if you want to do self-study just get self study books for A+/N+ (wich will be more up to date, and you'll have to pay for the Comptia cerifications yourself anyway) and then find a truly hands on course for the CCNA (you can do it part time in with real hands on experience in less time than going with them and save yourself some money in the process.
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+, Comptia N+
    WIP: CCNA MCSA
  18. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    The only gurantee I'm aware of with Skillstrain is the ability to retake an exam if you fail.

    However, what they fail to tell you is that the exam you are guranteed to be able to retake is probably not the exam you are taking the course for (and spending lots of money on too) in the first place.

    For instance, I'm doing the CompTIA A+ N+ course and despite the course advisor telling me (and I quote) "If you fail the exams our guarantee allows you to retake them at no extra cost". I found out later that this guarantee has nothing to do with the CompTIA exams I need to take to become certified. Apparently it only implicitly refers to some exam procedure that is internal to Skillstrain - presumably the pass/fail system of the Tutor Marked Assignments that determine whether you continue on to further parts of the course or not.

    Here is an obscure small paragraph I discovered lurking in the mass of documentation I got that throws everything into confusion:

    "Both the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA N+ examinations are proprietary and are outside the Skillstrain guarantee scheme"

    Funny how the so-called course advisor (aka salesperson) neglected to point this out, even though it is quite plain from the outset that I am only interested in the CompTIA A+ N+ exams and not some Skillstrain' internal exam system which likely has no worth within the IT industry whatsoever.

    I'm somewhat annoyed at this salesmans obfuscation tactic when talking about examination pass guarantees. However, there may be some legal redress. In my pack I have some fancy certificate style Guarantee that says:

    "In the unlikely event of you failing to pass the examination and provided you have carefully followed the instructions of your tutor you may retake the course entirely free of charge"

    Now all this depends on what the definition of "examination" within the Skillstrain agreement is. I've not yet followed up on this but it may be that two definitions of "examination" are in effect - Skillstrain's examination and (in my case) the CompTIA A+ N+ examination. In my mind I have only ever expressed interest in taking the course purely to achieve the CompTIA exam passes.

    Furthermore, from all the sales talk and Skillstrain leaflets speaking of landing well-paid jobs paying "£25k" as possible achievements through taking Skillstrain courses, I would think any legal definition of examination would have to implicitly refer to an "examination" recognised in the industry that is capable of allowing you to land such jobs commanding these salaries - in my case this means CompTIA exams and not Skillstrain's exam.

    Something to think about and bear in mind when you are faced with grilling the Skillstrain 'advisor' :)
     
    WIP: A+, N+
  19. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    dont take this the wrong way mate but did you not read all the small print before handing over your hard earned cash? :blink
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  20. darrenecm

    darrenecm Bit Poster

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    A fair point but nowhere on the documents that I was given to sign did it explain that the examination in question was anything other than that for which I am taking the course in the first place, namely the CompTIA A+ N+ - not some internal, and to all intents and purposes, worthless Scheidegger / Skillstrain exam certificate.

    After I had signed the agreements the salesperson then went and fetched a fancy briefcase containing course materials. It was in here that I eventually discovered the Netpro Plan of the Course leaflet. Later on I also found the single A4 sheet addendum to this Netpro leaflet tucked away in a zippered compartment with other small leaflets. This was the leaflet that contained the paragraph about the CompTIA exams not being covered under the guarantee. This addendum leaflet is even apparently out of date. I called Skillstrain recently after I read posts on here about course fees not covering all exam sittings. The person I spoke to at Skillstrain explained that the CompTIA fees are reimbursed and that this reimbursement was explained in paragraph 7. The leaflet I have has no paragraph 7.

    I feel it's unlikely that I'll not pass the CompTIA exam so I may not have an issue with having to retake the exam at my own expense again because the guarantee doesn't cover the CompTIA sit. However, this whole dubious witholding of information about what constitutes the examination is plainly dishonest. It's vague within the documentation and utterly concealed by the salesperson I spoke to (real name removed by Bluerinse). The salespeople are clearly aware that there are two definitions of examination, their company's internal one and the CompTIA ones, yet no effort was made to clarify that two definitions existed during our conversation when I asked if exam fees were covered in the course fee.
     
    WIP: A+, N+

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