Vocational training

How Google Singapore helps build in-demand skills

Announcing the opening of 600 additional professional training places for digital marketing and cloud technology, Ben King, Country Director of Google Singapore, also shared details of a new training track, called Data Engineering with Fundamentals of Technology. machine learning.

When Google Singapore first launched the Skills Ignition SG program last July, it had one goal. That is, with the help of government agencies – Economic Development Board, Infocomm & Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SkillsFuture Singapore – to equip 3,000 entry-level and mid-career Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) with essential (and in-demand) digital skills as the economy becomes increasingly dependent on technology.

And over the past year, through online professional training and a combination of online and on-the-job learning with 38 host companies like Google Singapore itself, Omnicom Media Group and ZUZU Hospitality, more than 2,600 trainees benefited from skills in marketing and cloud technology.

“Around 90% of interns believe the program provided them with the right skills to succeed in the digital economy, while 88% feel better equipped to develop and grow their careers,” shared Ben King, Country Director, Google Singapore at the Skills Ignition SG graduation ceremony for 100 trainees yesterday (July 27, 2021), attended by Human Resources Online.

At any rate, Google Singapore does not intend to stop there. At the ceremony, King announced that the organization would be:

  • Addition of 600 additional professional training places in the digital marketing track, which is an increase from the above-mentioned projection of 3,000 participants;
  • Welcoming another 100 interns to Google Singapore in October 2021, and
  • Opening of a new sector, data engineering with the fundamentals of machine learning, with 100 professional training places

King noted that the call to introduce this new track is largely based on two factors: the government’s request to capture the demand for skills they are witnessing in the market, as well as the demand that Google Singapore has noticed within the business community.

On this, King explained, “Over the past five years, the need for data analytics skills has increased dramatically. In fact, that number, in terms of demand, has increased by about 86%, which is astronomical.

“Now, to compete as Asia’s number one business hub, Singapore will need to be home to world-class business analysts and data scientists. And also, machine learning engineers.

At the event, Minister of Communications and Information of Singapore, Josephine Teonoted, “We appreciate that Google has been the first company to partner with us to train Singaporeans at scale in digital technology roles,” adding that this collaboration is just one area of ​​partnership between Google and the government.


Human Resources Online had the opportunity to catch up with King during a media roundtable after the ceremony. Excerpts from interviews below:

Q you said once“The problem we are seeing is not necessarily jobs, it is skills. There is an urgent need to help the workforce acquire digital skills to fill these jobs.” Are there any other digital skills that you think are lacking in the workforce that Google is looking to address in the near future? Why are these skills necessary?

To answer the question very simply, data analysis skills are one of the most in-demand areas. And we’re really trying to play into that by providing that training track.

The reality is that the demand for future-ready digital skills as a whole is increasing. Businesses need these skills to fuel their fast-paced technological developments.

Innovation through technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning enables countries like Singapore to maintain their future national competitiveness; and local businesses are increasingly discovering that they need world-class business analysts, data scientists, and machine learning engineers. So that’s the gap that we wanted to try to play a part in solving.

That’s why today we announced the new learning path, Fundamentals of Data Engineering and Machine Learning. It’s about helping to meet that demand.

Q What initiatives could Google take to enable the successful transfer of skills from those in specialist roles in other regions of operations, and bring those skills to talent in Singapore?

When looking at workplace culture, it’s super important to remember that Google’s workforce has been widely distributed for a very long time, even before the pandemic. Thus, we are committed daily in all regions of the world.

Engaging with our teams around the world is part of our daily lives, and this transfer of skills has only accelerated during the pandemic.

One of the ways we do this is our “g2g” program — Googling to Google — where approximately 10,000 Google employees around the world dedicate a portion of their time to helping their peers learn and grow. So it’s definitely part of our culture.

Q Besides creating transferable and relevant skills, what is Google Singapore doing to better prepare for the future of work, in terms of the changing needs of its workforce?

Many companies are trying to answer this question. And we have our own point of view.

For us, skills development is part of that. We are always thinking about the future of work across the company. And at its heart is a collaborative and open culture centered on our people. This applies to a range of different areas, which we have adapted in different ways.

First, how we think about a hybrid work model is a priority, not just for us, but certainly across our company.

Second, we constantly reflect on how we deliver initiatives to support our employees both emotionally and physically, from a mental wellness perspective.

It is a learning environment for everyone. What we face today is very different from what we faced a year ago, and it will still be the case six months from now when the environment will be different again. What we can all do is stay open, listen to our people, and make the decisions that we believe will best anchor our core principles around building collaboration through an open culture, while being focused on the good. – be employees.


Photo / Provided by Google Singapore (with Ben King, Country Manager, Google Singapore)

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