“The new generation will be the driving force of our economy. That’s why digital skills are more important than ever”
You no longer stand out in the labor market with just a degree in your pocket. Anyone who already has relevant work experience, has an edge. Companies prefer profiles that immediately bring value. The Digital Masters Academy responds with a unique training program that prepares graduates for the real work on the digital market. Camille Meert from Bloovi Me and Guy Gelaude from Google explain the educational program. “Boosting the digital competences of the new generation, that’s what we are doing with the Digital Masters Academy. By 2020, 9 out of 10 jobs will require digital knowledge and online marketing will form a robust basis for all jobs in the digital market”.
Growth engine of the digital economy
Guy Gelaude, Agency Relationship Manager at Google, explains why the American technology company supports the Digital Masters Academy from the beginning. “Together with Bloovi Me and our academic partners, we aim to boost the digital competences of the next generation of entrepreneurs, as they will be the growth engine of the digital economy”. A growth engine that will also bring new jobs: 300.000 jobs in 2020 to be precise, according to a Belgian study from the Boston Consulting Group. An ambition that the Digital Masters Academy likes to fulfill.
“Whilst 88% of the Belgian population is online every day, we see that 60% of all Belgian SMEs do not even have their own website. The main reason for this paradox is ‘digital knowledge’ and ‘finding the right people’. That’s why Digital Masters Academy focuses on teaching digital skills and connecting companies and studies via digital projects.”
5.000 students for the third edition
In 2015 Bloovi Me launched, in collaboration with Google, the first edition of the Digital Masters Academy (DMA). 200 graduates enrolled for the first edition, 2.000 for the second and this year they count 5.000 enrolled graduates from 16 schools and universities. Camille Meert, Managing Partner of Bloovi Me, is very satisfied with the enthusiasm of the educational and business world. “The continuing shortage of digital marketers causes a big gap between the ever-growing demand from the business world and the supply on the labor market”, she says.
The Digital Masters Academy responds to the needs of companies that wants to introduce a new mindset or strengthen their team, temporarily or permanent. The program is also ideal to attract digital talents. Companies often do not only want to attract talents who have a thorough academic knowledge, but also have a first professional experience. Hence, graduates do not always get the chance to gain experience during their studies. Many graduates with a high level of education experiencing difficulties in finding a first job. Our educational institutions must therefore strive for a system of dual learning where theory and practice complement each other. While the focus lies too often on theory, practical experience is the decisive factor on the labor market. Education should therefore focus more on initiatives such as paid internships (abroad).
1 million in marketing budget
The first part of the course, the theoretical part, started in September and consists of five modules and 3 exams. After obtaining the Google certificates, the graduates get the chance to put their knowledge into practice. They have to set up a real online marketing campaign for a non-profit organization. Google provides a total amount of 1 million euro, which means a marketing budget of 1,000 euro per campaign.
“We strongly believe in conveying theoretical knowledge and pure practical experience,” says Guy Gelaude. “By offering graduates the opportunity to create an online campaign about prevention, fundraising, volunteering, … and managing budget, they create social impact on their immediate environment”.
Once the graduates obtain their three certificates and succeed in the online campaign, they are DMA-Graduated. Being DMA-Graduated opens doors to the labor market. From then on Bloovi Me offers the DMA-Graduates internships and student jobs at companies looking for digital talent.
Win-win situation for companies and students
Dual learning is what the Digital Masters Academy wants to accomplish: Graduates are not only obtaining relevant knowledge about online marketing, but those who pass the three exams also gain valuable work experience. “It’s also extremely interesting for companies because they can fish in a large pool of digital talents. Last year, no less than 70% of the DMA-graduates were offered a fixed job after their internship. That’s one hell of a win-win!”
It’s not entirely coincidental, because Bloovi Me is always looking for an ideal match between employer and candidate. “Bloovi Me does the screening of the DMA-Graduates based on region, type of project, skills and background. We are responsible for the entire recruitment process to relieve the companies as much as possible”, emphasizes Camille Meert. Based on the project description, we select three suitable DMA-Graduates. The perfect match has the great advantage that the DMA-Graduate can be deployed immediately and show their value to the project. Employers get the opportunity to assess whether they want to offer the DMA-Graduate a permanent contract. If employers don’t have the intention to hire a DMA-Graduate, they can appeal for the right competencies for a certain period of time.
4 types of companies
Moreover, companies are given a unique opportunity to position themselves as an attractive employer to 5,000 DMA-Graduates. “It’s an misconception that every graduate chooses a multinational as an employer. Some DMA-Graduates prefer to work for an SME or start-up. We take this into account, otherwise there is no good match. In order to keep the range of jobs or projects as wide as possible, we would like to bring the program to the attention of more companies.”
The student population in the Digital Masters Academy show much more variation. Camille Meert: “Every graduate goes through the same DMA program. They all have different background – not only from the field of digital marketing but also journalism, economics, engineering, ICT, etc. – Companies can appeal on a wide range of knowledge and skills. Companies can choose to hire one DMA-Graduate for a number of operational tasks, but also can hire a team of multiple DMA-Graduates to support a specific project. These teams are coached by an experienced digital consultant. The choice depends on the need , the type of project and the knowledge that companies want to acquire. Companies can appeal to the DMA-Graduates for two to four months, depending on the type of project.”