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ROC Kop van Noord
Mercury delivers second Microsoft Data Centre Academy in EMEA
Author: Evan O'Quigley  /  29th Apr, 2021  /  News, Announcements & Press, Responsible Business

Read the article in Dutch here

The Microsoft Data Centre Academy (DCA) programme assists education partners in Microsoft Data Centre communities to deliver the training and certification necessary to enable employment in the growing cloud computing and IT sectors.

Mercury recently delivered a data centre lab in Kop van Noord-Holland, Netherlands, in partnership with Microsoft and ROC Kop van Noord-Holland, who provide Secondary Vocational Education (MBO) and training for students, companies and people in Kop van Noord-Holland.  The Data Centre Academy (DCA) construction was completed in December 2020 and will open once pandemic restrictions are lifted. The aim of this initiative is to train IT students in a number of courses related to the data centre environment, to meet the great demand there is for data centre professionals.

This is the second Data Centre Academy that Mercury has delivered for Microsoft, following a data centre lab in Horizon College in Hoorn, Netherlands which was launched in November 2019.

Leading European Engineering Contractor Mercury, and digital transformation and technology leader Microsoft, share a similar vision of enriching the lives of others.

Both global operations strive to make continued impacts in the supply chain and technology worlds respectively; they also share an understanding and passion for growing the future of the next generation. An opportunity to enhance the lives of tomorrow’s future leaders has been created through the DCA, a workforce development programme from the Microsoft Data Centre Community Development (DCCD) team, with resources provided by Microsoft Data Centres.

Microsoft Data Centres are unique buildings strategically located around the globe where cloud services are managed. The Data Centres provide high availability, low latency, scalability, and the latest cloud infrastructure and advancements. Technology in the data centres must meet rigorous standards for the Microsoft cloud over their lifespan.

At a certain stage, data centre equipment is repurposed for use in DCA labs. Using decommissioned data centre equipment serves two purposes; first, it supports Microsoft’s broader sustainability efforts. Secondly, and more importantly, it offers valuable work experience for students enrolled in the DCA program.

“Building digital skills and creating career pathways for the workforces in our datacenter communities is rooted in Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” said Bob Reitinger, Workforce Development Manager at Microsoft. “Microsoft is grateful to work with industry partners, governments, educators, and businesses around the world to ensure students acquire skills and certifications for employment in the growing cloud computing and IT sectors.” 

After the local vocational, or similar, education partnership is developed and the DCA lab location is selected Microsoft’s Workforce Development team partners with local construction companies to outfit the new lab with the necessary cooling, ventilation, and wiring to support lab operations. In addition, it works with its logistics and transportation partners to provide the critical role of transporting the donated data centre equipment to the DCA labs.

“Collaborating with Mercury provided a significant opportunity to give back to the Noord Holland community. As a Microsoft global construction partner, Mercury Construction supplied critical technical and construction acumen to deliver a hyper-cloud learning lab, enabling digital skills transformation in The Netherlands.” remarked Reitinger. 

Mercury’s Technical Support Services (TSS) team constructed the entire DCA making it an effortless exercise for Microsoft. Mercury fitted-out an existing room within the college, creating a real data centre environment where students can gain experience working on a ‘live’ data centre.

Mercury was joined on the project by its local Dutch supply-chain partner Amstelvliet Bouw, whose trades carried out Civil, Structural & Architectural (CSA), Mechanical and Electrical aspects of the Data Centre Academy (DCA). Mercury has worked with Amstelvliet, who also worked on the previous data centre academy delivered by Mercury in Horizon College, since 2019”

“We are delighted to continue to work with our long-term client Microsoft, delivering to the needs of a valued client while performing an important duty for the community that we are working with in North Holland, which is a very important part of our responsible business strategy” says Ger Geraghty, General Manager of Technical Support Services. “We believe strongly in providing education and training to everyone so that they can thrive in an increasingly connected world, and meet the challenges that the 4th industrial revolution will bring. “We’re also delighted to continue to support local jobs by working with a local Dutch supply chain”.

Technical Support Services (TSS)

Our TSS experts have the in-depth knowledge to fulfil each client’s vision. We deliver the full suite of colocation white space fitout services. This includes structured cabling installations complete with certified design capability, fire alarm & gas detection and hot & cold aisle containment. Our Mercury data centre decommissioning & upgrade project teams have the in-depth specialist experience required to work in ‘live’ environments.



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