Back in April 2018, Google launched it’s first Arabic digital skills program, ‘Maharat min Google’. The free program helps Arabic speakers develop practical digital skills through an online learning platform and in-person training.
Maharat min Google in Lebanon
I was happy to deliver Google’s first in-person digital skills training in Lebanon. The training was hosted by Mercy Corps in Achrafieh last month with around 15 selected attendees. A 4-hour intensive training featured practical case studies, and interactive quizzes. The training covered 4 major topics such as growing a business on social media and digital jobs.
Who can access this program?
The program is open to any Arabic speaking individual for FREE. “Maharat min Google” aims to help youth including students and job seekers. The program also focuses on female participation as well. Google hopes to help users advance their careers in the digital industry or grow their businesses.
What will you learn?
Through the online learning platform users can access 26 core topics in digital marketing. Numerous topics included such as eCommerce, SEO, social media, SEM, & Email marketing-to name just a few. After the completion of the entire course, you will receive a certificate from Google similar to the below.
What you’ll love?
The topics are short, practical and interactive – and of course in ARABIC!
Each video is just few minutes long with different formats. You can also read the transcripts below each video, check your progress and enroll in various topics. You will also solve case studies of local businesses like a florist shop, bakery and barber. What you will absolutely love is the interactivity of quizzes!
The easy-to-use platform is also a feature-rich platform. Certainly, after working for 3 years on online courses and online learning platforms, this is definitely an amazing achievement combining both specs.
Why should you take this course?
It is true that skills gap is a universal problem. But I’ve spoken earlier about the digital skills gap in Lebanon. Likewise, this is also the case in many other Arab countries due to the lack of quality content around digital topics in Arabic. Maharat min Google aims to change this challenge for Arabic-speaking users! Fresh graduates will be equipped with the needed digital skills in today’s workforce. Business owners as well even those in rural areas will benefit from this content.
After 2020, 90% of the jobs will require digital skills!
You can access the online courses anytime anywhere on g.co/Maharat. Future in-person training in Lebanon will be announced soon.
Want to hire a digital agency to manage your company’s online marketing? Before launching our women-owned digital marketing agency in the mdidle east, my partner and I have worked for multiple agencies in Lebanon, UAE, and Amman for more than 6 years.
Driving growth for local businesses like Abed’s Salon to international organization like World FZO, This period is long enough to come up with a list that will streamline your hiring process to choose the right agency that fits your budget, brand and business.
5 things to consider when hiring the best digital marketing agency in the middle east:
1- Build a relationship :
You need to get to know the person handling your product, not the account manager who signed the deal nor the company’s CEO but the digital manager handling your daily requests. No one knows your company more than you do. If you can explain what you want to achieve, and how you want to position your company directly to that person, then you will ensure the agency is aligned with your business goals.
2- Ask and learn:
Question: Do you know how to replace a video with an image on your website?
Answer: That would require an experienced web developer to use an API. The API will pull data from your website and in 3 working days the image will be replaced.
Truth: It’s all Bullshit! In fact, changing an image requires a minute.
Even if you don’t have digital knowledge, you can ask for a second opinion or simply do a quick google search, you can be surprised of how quick and easy you’ll find answers.
3- Agreements and trust:
Whether you want to create a website, an app or want someone to handle your social media channels. There’s a lot of data at risk. I have seen some agencies that reached to an extent of withholding information or not handing access to the clients after an agreement ends.
4- Price vs Service:
A low cost service isn’t the worse and an expensive one isn’t the best. Research the agency! When did it start? Have they done that before? Do they really know what they are doing? If an agency doesn’t have a functional site for their own agency how do u expect to get a better one.
5- The extra mile
There’s always new trends coming up everyday like the Instagram hashtag follow feature and much more! Choose a digital agency in the middle east that actually keeps up with the trends to get the best results.
Agencies aren’t one size fits all. Hiring the best digital agency in the middle east to fit your business goals is not easy. If you feel that your digital strategy is best handled by a small local agency close to you. Others might feel more comfortable working with a global agency with multiple offices and hundreds of employees. However, The most important thing to remember is that the impact of hiring the right agency on your business and brand is limitless.
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I have been working in the digital industry for the past 5 years in Lebanon. When I started back then, it was an emerging industry and the online references were limited to couple video tutorials. Today. the resources and academies produced by top companies in the tech industry cover all aspects of the digital skills including coding, design, and marketing. Yet, the formal education system, and graduates displaying a poor work attitude are the among the main reasons fresh graduates in Lebanon can’t get hired or find jobs.
It is true that skills gap is a universal problem. Employers around the world in different business sectors are experiencing difficulty finding the right candidates with the required skillsets and the MENA region suffers from the highest youth unemployment rate (80%) in the world especially among fresh graduates. Yet the absence of digital skills has been a rising issue across all careers whether related to technology or not, with the increasing transformation of how we do things every day.
The HR landscape can no longer apply the traditional business practices. Today, social media plays a vital role in hiring. Most recruitment is done through social networks changing the world of HR professional. Online HR tools are developing to connect and understand employees and to reach and attract talent. Not to mention the quick social media background checks to assess candidates whether that should be taken into consideration or not. Thus, the use of digital in HR is a must and HR professional are encouraged to learn and develop digital skills.
I have given above a very simple example of a business that it’s employees should be empowered with digital skills in order to succeed. But if I had to talk about careers that are the heart of any digital service and in which having digital skills is not an option but rather a MUST. I would be talking about marketers, designers and programmers.
The 3 roles needed for ANY company to thrive in the digital revolution.
A travel agency requires a designer to create couple engaging posts for social media. Also, a developer to constantly update their website, and a marketer to provide a working strategy and the same process applies to any other business.
Today, the most in-demand jobs are those related to the digital skills. There has been recently a significant job growth of marketers, designers, and programmers in Lebanon specifically and in the Middles East in general. I have been trying to recruit fresh graduates in Lebanon in the above fields. Yet, I am really surprised by the lack of the very basic digital and soft skills.
The most common feature is that most show up to the interview late, that is if they actually show up. Most don’t even remember the company they applied to. Not to mention that they don’t actually invest their time in researching what the company does before showing up to an interview.
It is sad that fresh graduates in Lebanon aren’t equipped with the desired digital skills required in the modern workforce. Individuals and with very basic research will notice that for example, graphic designers in most businesses are required to do work for online materials. Such as designing a blog post to be placed on social media, or a banner for a website. Thus, showing up to an interview with couple bags full with university projects won’t really help. It is true that the current education systems in Lebanon have not kept pace with the demand for these digital skills. But what is also true, is that the number of free online resources available to help you learn such activities has rapidly developed in the past couple years. You can check Hootsuite Academy for social media skills, CodeAcademy for coding, TeamTreeHouse for web design…
What is really also surprising is that even when candidates were guided to learn and develop the right digital skills, the attitude of not willing to learn or work on self-improvement makes a big portion of fresh graduates in Lebanon “unemployable”.
Although i have a degree in advertising, and i can remember that most content related to marketing i came across during university was related to the traditional marketing approach and not related to the digital space. So, i did start my career by working for free to understand what digital marketing was. I have managed to develop digital skills when the only available online resources were couple youtube videos. But “i have learned for myself”.
As my career developed, I realised that the “digital marketing skills” are no longer enough. I found myself learning photoshop, illustrator, and Dreamweaver… Possessing such design skills is mandatory. compliment marketing. It helps marketers understand how much time is spent to create banners and how typography and colours represent a brand.
As marketing evolved more and more into the digital space, coding was the next must-have skills. I found myself learning basic coding skills including html, css, and some php. The only was to learn is never reading but rather practising and this blog was born. From installing WordPress, choosing a theme, and editing content. Then tapping into e-commerce with magento, and woocommerce. Installing a payment gateway, uploading a landing page on the server, and editing the content of a bootstrap page helped me understand how better “marketing instructions” can help developers work efficiently.
The digital skills gap is a product of multiple trends that can be summarised into two main points. First, the modern-day digital skill requirements outpacing formal education. Second, companies should be helping fresh graduates in Lebanon develop such skills in the workplace. Fresh graduates should also have the “right attitude” and willingness to learn or else the ability to grow and to innovate in Lebanon will be severely constrained.
Hadafi, the women entrepreneurship program launched in 2013 is a FREE development program that provides female entrepreneurs with expert training & consultancy, financial support, entrepreneurial coaching and, of course, lots of priceless media exposure.
The program is directed towards women, aged 18 years and above, located in the MENA region with a scalable business idea, a startup or a newly established business.
Hadafi provides multiple awards for the winners including:
- Cash prizes,
- Being featured on “UN Women”,
- Invitation to “AllWorld Network Summit” at Harvard
- Coaching from “Girls in Tech”
- Access to the “Ahead of the Curve” training program
- A Booth in one of “Mompreneurs Bazaars“
- Training by Arab “ArabWomenPreneurs”
- Special Offer from “Eureeca- Crowdfunding “
Potential, Hadafi founders, just announced the launch of its fifth season. Participating in the program requires 3 simple steps:
The program is offered in collaboration with multiple strategic partners such as MBC TV, Pepsico and Ministry of Youth in Kuwait in addition to multiple regional and local partners such as Girls in Tech, Embassy of the United States in Kuwait, AllWorld Network, Eureeca, Arab Womenpreneur, In5, Flat6lab and many more.
Check out this video recap of the previous season:
Hadafi is a great program for all women out there with innovative ideas. Make sure to register & give your business the head start it deserves!
For the first time in the MENA region, Intel announced on August 10, 2015 the launch of Challenge ME! An IoT (Internet of Things) competition in collaboration with reputable educational institutions and non-profit entrepreneurship across the Middle East and North Africa.
If you have a start-up idea or you’re an entrepreneur developing technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) market, make sure to sign up and submit your prototype before the closing date of the submission on October 22nd. The project idea should be aimed at developing or using new technology trends within the areas of the Internet of Things (IoT) with great business potential, such as: Drones, Wearable Products, Smart Homes/Cities, Automotive, Aerospace….
Experts from Intel corporation and the business community will assess the submitted projects based on two major areas; Innovative aspects of the IoT Technology Components and the attractiveness and scalability of the Business Model. Shortlisted projects will be invited to travel to Beirut in November 2015 for the final pitching with a chance to win over $15,000 in prizes and an opportunity to attend the Intel Innovation Summit in UK.
Eligibility: Participants must be above 18 years old and located in the MENA region: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Intel will also be conducting a series of webinars to assist participants and answer any questions regarding the submission process. Webinar Details
Visit challengeme.intel.com or ChallengeME! Facebook Page for more info about the competition’s; Timeline, Webinars, and Process…