Travel industry technology specialist Web Applications is poised to enter the US market and open a new IT centre of excellence in its home town of Oldham.
Chief executive Craig Dean said the WA:UK Centre of Excellence is due to open on April 1 and will see around a 100 people a month training and taking professional industry examinations.
The firm’s US launch is planned to take place within weeks, Web Applications believing there is a gap in the US market for vacation rentals technology.
Its US headquarters is likely to be in Colorado Springs and the firm is in the process of recruiting for five posts initially, including a managing director who has been identified but not yet signed up.
“The holiday rental exchange market is really growing in the US and travel is ideally placed for accommodation rentals.
“In the same way as we’ve seen a big boom in domestic holidays in the UK, a lot of Americans have realised you can rent someone else’s home as a holiday home and it’s quite cost-effective.
“We have always planned to go to the US, there is some potential to grow quickly there and it’s better for us to continue the company philosophy of being a local company. We do not outsource.
“Our real speciality, where we have seen growth, is in accommodation. If things go the way we want we are looking at achieving a couple of million dollars of sales in the first few years.”
The WA:UK Centre of Excellence is being funded entirely by Web Applications and will provide a place for IT professionals to take their Microsoft and Cisco examinations.
The centre will also be a training and testing hub and it is also hoped a not-for-profit social enterprise will also be established to offer training opportunities for the local community.
Dean said he hopes to work with Oldham College to promote IT as a career choice among young people in the area.