Leading Learning Partner Association (LLPA) is a global consortium of computer training organizations. They recently decided to become a Channel Partner with Linux Professional Institute (LPI), a major move showing the importance of open source tools and programming in many parts of the world.
According to Patrick Kersten, president of the board at LLPA, the consortium was launched in 2013 with about 20 European training organizations. Currently LLPA has 31 member organizations that together serve 55 countries on many continents. Members consist of commercial training firms, some of which serve colleges or K-12 schools as well.
Kersten described LLPA as a bottom-up organization, combining the energy, innovation, and and local market knowledge of its members with the benefits of a central organization to assess quality and coordinate services.
Because each training program is independent, it can find the right services to offer in its local area. Some training organizations, for instance, provide recruitment and job placement in their local areas. When one organization comes up with a good idea, it can share it with others.
Assessments, which validate that a training organization can remain part of LLPA, take place as often as once a year. In addition to quality, LLPA measures the organization’s innovation, relationships with the vendors whose products they teach, and assurance that the organization does not compete with other LLPA organizations.
It’s crucial that the training programs avoid competing with one another, because competition creates disincentives to work together and could lead to the dissolution of LLPA. Therefore, in general, each of the 55 countries is served by only one of the 31 organizations. Occasionally, they can offer courses in other regions to fill in each other’s gaps.
Areas with large concentrations of computer professionals tend to have a lot of in-person classes. For instance, in the Netherlands, Kersten finds that 20% of the member’s offerings are run by instructors online. But online courses were necessary during the pandemic isolation period, and are particularly useful now in areas with few professionals. The online offerings permit the full range of training programs to be offered in remote areas.
Thus, another criterion for joining LLPA is to offer comprehensive training in all areas that a professional could benefit from. In addition to technologies, business skills such as project management are offered.
Many organizations engage in workforce development, where entire departments are trained in a common technology such as Java. A multinational client might contract with different LLPA member organizations in order to serve all of its professionals in different places. To simplify such multinational development LLPA maintains a unified schedule for all its member organizations.
When such a large, far-reaching organization as LLPA partners with LPI, it demonstrates the importance of open source. LLPA realizes that open source is in wide use in the countries its members serve. A professional should be proficient in GNU/Linux and its administrative tools, as well as other areas covered by LPI certifications such as virtualization and DevOps.
LPI partnership makes it easier and cheaper for LLPA members to offer certification exams. LPI resources also make it easier to offer courses in open source technologies. Kersten says that many institutions have created courses specifically to help students get LPI certifications such as Linux Essentials and LPIC-1. Some organizations might incorporate the technical topics into academic courses.
Some member organizations have moved further along the path to open source than others. LLPA hopes for all of them to make a firm commitment to covering the open source topics in LPI certifications.