Digital Skills Academy, an institution offering advanced ICT training for working professionals, has expanded its reach to 25 countries in six continents across the globe as demand grows for ongoing ICT skills development in the workplace.
The Academy’s 2016 Impact Report also indicates that over 100 leading international companies now benefit from the Digital Skills Academy industry partner programme, which combines training with practical ICT project implementations in the workplace.
Among the industry partners are South Africa’s Standard Bank, MultiChoice and MTN, and multinationals such as Allianz, KPMG, and EY (Ernst & Young).
Paul Dunne, Founder and CEO of Digital Skills Academy, says the phenomenal international growth since the Academy was launched in 2008 is a clear indication that enterprises and working professionals need ongoing industry-relevant ICT skills development.
“We launched our first online international degree in integrated digital technology, digital business and design only in October 2015, and are delighted with the take-up so far. Digital Skills Academy offers degrees and Continuing Professional Development programmes that are designed for professionals across all sectors to take advantage of the increasing need for skills in digital technology and digital business.”
The firm will actively increase its industry partner numbers and enrolments this year.
With its headquarters in Dublin’s Digital Hub and a satellite office in Johannesburg, Digital Skills Academy also plans further expansion of its international office network during 2017. Over 300 people in countries including the USA and the UK and Ireland, and as far afield as Switzerland, Dubai, Australia and Brazil, have participated in Digital Skills Academy’s International Degree programmes in the past year alone.
Participants in Digital Skills Academy’s courses gain expertise and extensive experience working in international cross-functional virtual teams, which work together to deliver projects. The teams are made up of coders, project managers, digital product managers and marketers.
Lectures are delivered online, and Digital Skills Academy’s coaches and expert mentors provide weekly support to the online meetings of these international teams. These meetings are facilitated using online video-conferencing technologies, and are scheduled at times that best suit the teams to synchronise with the range of time zones for team members based in multiple locations around the globe.
Commenting on the international aspect of their courses, Paul Dunne, CEO of Digital Skills Academy, said: “One of our teams of participants can have members from all six continents, allowing participants to harness global business connections, gain invaluable experience and cultural learnings and develop highly sought-after virtual team-working and online collaboration skills by working with team members from across the globe.
“Our participants range from CIOs and Sales and Marketing executives to Data Analysts, Designers, Web Developers and Software Engineers, and the aim of our programmes is to produce tech-savvy business professionals and business-savvy tech professionals.
“Some of our corporate clients have asked that we put their employees into teams with participants who are working in the same sector but are from other countries, so their respective employers are not competing in the same geographical markets. This provides a unique way to share best practice and new ideas for their sector, without competitive risk. For example, an employee of the South African telecommunications company MTN could be working closely with an AT&T employee from the US, to compare their practices and learn from each other without competitive risk.”
Fanie Van Heerden, Head of IT Solutions, Architecture and Design at industry partner Standard Bank, says of the programme: “We are on the search for new skills – we are rolling out new functionality in Corporate Banking, Retail Banking, Insurance and Finance in all of the 19 countries that we’re in. Digital Skills Academy will help to fill those digital skills gaps.”
Dunne notes: “Being acutely aware of the importance of reducing the competitive risk and protecting the intellectual property of our partners and clients, we’ve built robust safeguards into our programmes to address these concerns. This allows our participants, partners and clients to maximise their use of our platform in order to build the workforce capabilities for geographically-dispersed teams working in today’s increasingly global organisations.”