Free Microsoft training: How to use your Software Assurance Training Vouchers

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No one likes to leave money on the table. And yet, if you’re a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) customer, chances are you’re doing just that – in the form of free Microsoft training vouchers.

These Microsoft training vouchers may be part of your Software Assurance (SA) benefits. For each three-year EA license, you gain a pool of vouchers that can be used to train your IT staff for free. Yet nearly 70% of training vouchers go unused.

That means if you’re like most organizations, you’re not maximizing the value of your licensing. This free training can ramp up your IT team’s skill sets, feed your team’s appetite to learn new technology, and help you move closer to your IT goals.

How do you know whether you’re eligible for this training and how do you sign up? Read on to find out.

What are Microsoft Software Assurance Training Vouchers (SATVs)?

Also known as Microsoft Technical Training Vouchers, SATVs are one of the SA benefits of Microsoft EA. They can be used toward technical training for IT staff (NOT end users) to update their skills on new technologies, as well as teach them how to effectively configure, deploy, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot core infrastructure and developer technologies.

How many vouchers do you have?

The number of vouchers depends on the number of qualifying licenses covered by SA.

One voucher equals one day of training per student. So if you have 50 vouchers, 10 people could take one five-day course, or five people could take two five-day courses each.

Do the vouchers expire?

Yes. You can activate and create vouchers at any point during your three-year agreement, but once activated and created, they will expire after 180 days.

So, for example, if you activate and create your vouchers two years, 11 months, and 29 days into your three-year agreement, the vouchers will be good for 180 days, even though your EA will expire sooner. Once you activate and create the vouchers, the 180-day clock starts, no matter what point you’re at in your agreement.

What technologies can IT teams train on using SATVs

The following technologies are currently offered through the training vouchers:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server
  • Office 365
  • Azure
  • SharePoint
  • SQL
  • System Center

How is the training delivered?

There are three types of training:

  • Live on-site
  • Live online
  • On-demand

Each course lasts three to five full days and the type of training you choose largely depends on your schedule — can your IT staff fit in a week of live training? Or would the on-demand version be a better option so they can work through the material at their own pace while still handling their other duties?

If you have a number of team members interested in the same course, a live instructor can come to your office to deliver the training on site.

If you choose the on-demand training, you will have access to the training for 90 days to complete it at your own pace.

How do you activate SATVs?

Training vouchers must be created and assigned in your Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) portal prior to an employee taking a class. Remember that once vouchers are created, you must use them within 180 days.

Enter the full name and the email of the IT team member who will be taking a class, and you’ll receive a voucher number that will allow you to register that person for a class.

The next step is to select the class, the format (on-site, online, on-demand), and the dates the student is able to attend, if applicable.

Assess your training plans and initiatives on a regular basis to ensure full utilization of available vouchers.

Why should you use vouchers?

Have we mentioned that they’re free?

Many organizations experience cuts to training budgets, and this is one way to keep your IT team’s skills sharp. You’ve already invested money in EA, and letting training vouchers expire is essentially leaving money on the table.

Especially as IT skills grow in demand, regular training helps you retain your team by offering them ongoing education and new opportunities to challenge themselves.

In the end, you’ll have a more skilled IT staff, happier employees, and the ability to manage technology with updated skill sets to achieve your business goals.

How to get started with SATVs

Contact your SHI account executive to identify how many vouchers you have and when they expire. We’ll be able to offer you a list of eligible courses and can help you create and assign the vouchers to get the best return on investment for all your technology.

As a certified training company, we can also help you choose the training that best fits your current needs and provide regular reporting on your voucher utilization.

If you’re a Microsoft EA customer, you likely have training vouchers. It’s time to start using them!