Sunday, 8 January 2017

Ireland’s Digital Skills Academy Goes Global

Digital Skills Academy, the Irish company that pioneered online degrees in digital skills, has expanded its reach to 25 countries in six continents across the globe.

The company released its 2016 Impact Report today, which shows that over 300 people in countries including the USA and the UK and Ireland, and as far afield as Switzerland, Dubai, South Africa, Australia and Brazil, participated in Digital Skills Academy’s International Degree programmes since October 2015.

Founded by entrepreneur and educator Paul Dunne in 2008, Digital Skills Academy has its headquarters in Dublin’s Digital Hub, with a satellite office in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company is planning further expansion of its international office network during 2017.

Commenting on their expansion, Paul Dunne, Founder and CEO of Digital Skills Academy, said: “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.”

“As part of our International BSc degree programmes, we work with international Industry Partners so our participants gain international experience through working in teams to develop digital products and services. Our respected Industry partners include Allianz, KPMG, and EY (Ernst & Young). In South Africa, we are training the employees of our partner MTN, South Africa’s largest telecommunications firm. Standard Bank, the country’s number one retail bank, is also our partner.”

Fanie Van Heerden, Head of IT Solutions, Architecture and Design at Standard Bank, said: “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 significantly to fill those digital skills gaps.”

Participants in Digital Skills Academy’s courses gain expertise and extensive experience working in international cross-functional virtual teams, which ork 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.

“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.”

Check out Digital Skills Academy, visit: