Google teams up with marketers and agencies to plug digital skills gap

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 6 October 2015
Google Squared

Google is bringing its intensive digital skills course, Squared, to Australia to plug the digital skills gap currently affecting local businesses and agencies.

According to research conducted by Sweeney Research on the state of digital skills in Australia, 70% of Australian businesses believe that a digital skills gap is taking a moderate or heavy toll on their business. Google's former lead for agency sales, development and display activation, now Google Australia's head of mobile, Lisa Bora, told AdNews that the aim of bringing Squared to Australia is about addressing that gap.

“Digital is an evolving skill,” Bora said.

She stressed that marketers are learning so many new skills each day, and it's becoming an increasingly essential part of the Australian advertising industry.

“For us it's not so much that the skills don’t exist, it's that the skills don't exist to the level that marketers want them to be at, and equally businesses now recognise they are vital for their thriving companies to succeed in the future.”

Squared has previously run in the UK, Hong Kong and the US and is a six week full-time course that is fully funded by Google. Execs from client side, creative and media agencies are taken through everything digital in order to hopefully come away with a holistic understanding of the digital landscape.

“Practical immersive experience is the absolute key, as is being platform agnostic," Bora said.

"We're talking about the relevance of digital across all media and the speakers that we are drawing from are from different organisations, different agencies, both in digital and non digital environments."

People from Toyota and Sportsbet are taking part, as well as people from agencies including J Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi, M&C Saatchi, Whybin\TBWA, PHD and Match Media.

The course also has the support of the IAB and the MFA with CEO of the IAB, Australia Alice Manners, saying: “The future leaders of Australian advertising will need to be more than just comfortable with digital, they'll need to be digital masters. Programmes like Squared are key to helping grow the digital talent we so desperately require."

MFA CEO Sophie Madden agreed noting Squared is a great opportunity for some of the industry’s future stars to build their digital skills in a dedicated learning program.

For Bora it's not about stepping on the toes of the other organisations such as the IAB and MFA who already offer digital training, it's about digitall- focused organisations working together to ensure there are is a high understanding of digital skills in the market.

“For us there's not enough training and continuing to invest in that is a good thing, the differentiation here is we do feel when you walk away from a one to two day courses or even self learning like we offer quite extensively online with not a real expertise, or a real practical application of a truly immersive experience or to some extend a new habit.

“So for us intensively focusing on a six week program really creates a new behaviour,” Bora said.

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