Students, jobseekers and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn digital skills for free on Google through a newly launched programme accessible to everyone, it was announced on Monday.
The online Arabic platform 'Maharat min Google' (skills from Google) will help people in the Mena region find jobs, advance their careers and grow their businesses for free.
Based on a blended learning model, the online platform g.co/Maharat will provide a combination of free courses, tools and in-person digital skills training to students, educators, job seekers and businesses.
Google-certified experts will give 100 lessons across 26 core topics in digital marketing that include search engine marketing, social media, video, e-Commerce, geo-targeting and data analytics, among others. Google will provide a certificate upon completion of the full course, which takes about nine hours to complete.
By 2020, there could be one million jobs that are unfilled due to lack of digital skills and by 2025, three million jobs are at risk if people don't have the skills that allow them to break digital technology.
Lino Catarruzi, managing director at Google Mena, said the courses were chosen after analysing the workforce and skills needed in the quick-paced modern world.
"The more skills you have, the more opportunities you unlock. Digital skills are now the future of a world that will be led by jobs that don't exist today," said Catarruiz.
He added that the online courses and tools provide basic steps for anyone in the region to develop digital skills needed to make the most of the web in any field. "The courses are focused on turning skills into an output and economic value," said Catarruzi.
He said Google will be on the lookout for further local partnerships across the region with governments, universities, private-sector businesses and nonprofits to train as many people as possible in Mena region through the platform.
A World Economic Forum study showed that by 2020, one in five jobs in the Arab world will require digital skills that aren't widely available today. About 51 per cent of youth consider unemployment their biggest concern and only 38 per cent believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter the workforce.
Empowering women and the underprivileged
Google representatives said the platform also aims to empower women's place economically in the Mena region where there are 30 million women educated, connected and of working age, which represents the largest economic opportunity in the region today.
Over 50 per cent of university graduates are females, yet only 25 per cent participate in the workforce, of which 19 per cent join vocational or job training compared to 44 per cent of women worldwide.
During the launch, Google signed two agreements to train students and underprivileged communities with a target of 50 per cent female participation.
The agreement with Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (MiSK) is to conduct in-person trainings to more than 100,000 students across Saudi Arabia.
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