Google Ignite is back

Head of Marketing Google Malaysia, Mr John Day (R) with MAA Council Member, Miss Jean Loh during the press conference on digital upskill programme at Google Malaysia. — Sunpix by Zulfadhli Zaki
Head of Marketing Google Malaysia, Mr John Day speaks during the press conference on digital upskill programme at Google Malaysia. — Sunpix by Zulfadhli Zaki

FOR the third consecutive year, Google Malaysia is running Google Ignite, its digital marketing training-to-internship programme for Malaysian undergraduates.

Google Ignite focuses on developing undergraduates' digital marketing skills on Google platforms, which includes a certification at the end of the course.

The entire programme culminates in a job fair in October co-organised with the MAA (Malaysian Advertisers Association) and JobStreet.com.

The job fair is expected to place at least 270 of the highest performing students and graduates in internship positions with some of the largest digital agencies and brands in Malaysia.

This year's Google Ignite programme will take place at six institutions of higher learning – Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam; Inti International University in Subang, Nilai, Kuala Lumpur, George Town and Kota Kinabalu; Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in Sungai Long and Kampar; Sunway Monash University in Bandar Sunway; Multimedia University in Cyberjaya; and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.

More universities were involved previously, but Google Malaysia decided to pare the number down this year and focus on universities who could integrate this programme into their curriculum better.

"We've learned a lot over the first two years of the programme, and worked closely with our university partners to optimise our approach and the experience for students," said Jon Day, head of marketing at Google Malaysia.

This decision will help organisers improve the quality of participants and certification candidates, with the training modules integrated into the university syllabus itself.

In the first two years, students took the course outside of their regular curriculum, but now, the universities involved actually have it as part of the curriculum, and even trained professors to better guide the students.

In addition, those interested to undertake the programme but who are not studying at any of the six universities involved, can still take up the course online.

Throughout the duration of the programme, Google is providing the universities with online learning resources for self-study, as well as on-campus training in Google AdWords (a Google-developed online advertising service) in order to certify students and ensure their eligibility for internship opportunities with top employers in Malaysia.

This arrangement allows students to get valuable training that they would otherwise only get as an employee, and take advantage of internship opportunities Google has created with its partners, MAA and JobStreet.com.

Over 6,000 undergrads have taken the Google Ignite certification exams so far, but only about 1,800 have passed it.

And of that number, only 400 have gone on to become interns at major companies in Malaysia.

These numbers are a testament to the rigorous requirements of the course, and the calibre of the candidates it seeks to attract.

"Malaysia is inherently a digital country," added Day. "More and more people are researching online to make purchasing decisions and generally find information [that they need]."

He said that means that a lot of businesses need to find a way to reach these consumers.

"Malaysia has grown so fast digitally, it has outpaced the supply of talents that have this digital know-how to help companies run their digital marketing."

Day said Google, upon seeing the need to drive this new ecosystem, decided to start Google Ignite to help big companies as well as SMEs hire the digital talent they need.

Students who don't manage to secure internships will still be equipped with a Google certification that is an asset when they go job hunting.

Google's goal this year is to get over 1,000 students certified.

For more, visit the Google Ignite website.