Google training scheme to address shortfall in digital skill set

Google has partnered with the IPA and 35 advertising agencies to address a digital skills gap in the agency sector with the launch of an UK internship programme dubbed Squared.


The online advertising giant unveiled Squared at the internship scheme’s venue in London last night (25 Feb) revealing its first intake will take place next month after earlier beta schemes hosted at Google’s headquarters.

Google is funding the scheme which involves a six week “immersion in digital technology” every quarter for entrants into its agency partners’ respective graduate schemes, according to Dan Cobley, Google’s UK managing director.

The scheme was piloted and eventually launched in the UK as it is the “best digital economy in the world” by a number of metrics, Cobley said adding some of Google’s other country units are also considering implementing the scheme.

Squared’s training programme will involve digital marketing experts from across the agency landscape offering advice on a number of digital marketing disciplines to graduates with occasional participation from staff from other web giants.

Cobley says Google and the IPA elected to include its commercial rivals, notably Facebook and Twitter, to ward-off potential criticism that Squared is too heavily biased towards the search giant and its marketing services.

The programme will be based in London’s Tottenham Court Road area with an additional tie-up with the Home Learning College in place to provide online training access for remote agencies across the country.

“Britain is arguably home to one of the most talented advertising industries in the world, and working alongside the industry we want to ensure that the agency landscape remains the very best by ensuring we harness the abundance of talent around us and ensure graduates are equipped with the digitals skills needed to keep themselves employable,” added Cobley.

Also at the launch event was Paul Bansfair, director general at the IPA, who told attendees the scheme would create opportunities for agencies to become more efficient. “This should provide the opportunity to create change and should become one of the staples of the training industry,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are also understood to have given financial backing to a marketing campaign, dubbed Make IT in Ireland, aimed at attracting digital marketers and IT technicians to Dublin where their respective European operations are headquartered.

The digital campaign is geared towards directing traffic to a campaign page where potential candidates can upload their CVs which can then be viewed by recruiters for the respective digital companies.

John Dennehy, project director at Zartis, the agency behind the campaign, told Marketing Week: “Attracting talent is a problem across Europe and in Ireland. It’s chronic as there’s so many of the big IT firms based here.

“There’s a lot of negative publicity about Ireland [since it had to be bailed out by the IMF in 2010] but a lot of the world’s biggest [digital] companies are here and need staff.”

Enterprise IT giants such as Oracle, Intel and Symantec are also backing the campaign.

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