New initiative to offer free digital marketing training for students, professionals and SMEs

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran at the virtual launch of Upskill with Facebook Singapore.
Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran at the virtual launch of Upskill with Facebook Singapore.PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE – Students, job seekers, working professionals, educators and small business owners will be able to learn digital marketing skills for free through a new initiative announced on Wednesday (March 31).

The initiative, in line with national efforts to build Singapore’s digital economy, aims to train about 2,700 people and 1,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in areas such as marketing science, marketing on social media and content creation to engage customers on social media.

The training will be provided through four programmes that tap webinars, workshops, online discussions and learning portals with input by Facebook and industry experts.

Called Upskill with Facebook Singapore, the initiative by the social media firm giant has four programmes, three of which will award certificates to participants who complete them.

The training programmes are curated by Facebook in partnership with technology industry association SGTech, and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore and Digital Industry Singapore.

Digital Industry Singapore is the joint office of the Economic Development Board, Enterprise Singapore and IMDA that engages with the technology sector.

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said in a statement that initiatives like Upskill "are particularly important at a time when digital and tech roles are in strong demand across all sectors of the economy".

"As an engine of growth and transformation for the wider economy, the infocomm technology sector will generate many exciting opportunities for our companies and workers," said Mr Iswaran.

Mr Ang Chin Tah, vice-president and head of Digital Industry Singapore, said that Facebook's training initiative is "a tremendous shot in the arm for the wider ecosystem".

"By working together with leading players like Facebook, we can continue to adapt to the challenges arising from Covid-19 and create growth and job opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans," said Mr Ang.

In a virtual dialogue on Wednesday, Facebook said about five years of projected digital transformation had taken place in the course of 12 months amid the pandemic.
“The demand for digital skill sets is only going to accelerate,” said Mr Damian Kim, Facebook Singapore’s country director.

In spite of the changes Covid-19 brought about, Mr Iswaran said that Asia still offers great opportunity now and in the future, and Singapore can be the interlocutor between the region and the rest of the world.

He added that Asia has a rising middle class that will demand higher quality services and products, and the region is an early adopter of tech.

Upskill is Facebook’s biggest training initiative here to date. This is based on the number of people and businesses it aims to train and the investment in resources the company is putting in.

Facebook is bearing all costs related to the initiative but did not disclose a figure.

However, it said one of the programmes - Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate - would ordinarily cost US$49 (S$66) a month per person.

Under the initiative, the tech firm is offering the 20-week programme for free to 1,200 participants from April. It was developed with online course provider Coursera.

The programme is aimed at students, as well as entry-level working professionals and career switchers, seeking to develop social media marketing skills. It will also impart resume and interview techniques.

Another programme under the initiative is called Rise, which is focused on supporting professionals who are looking to join the advertising, media or creative agency industry in Singapore.

The three-month programme covers media planning and marketing science, with up to 500 certifications available. It will run from April to June.

Facebook's third training programme is the Blueprint Higher Education Programme, which aims to provide educators with teaching materials on digital marketing that they can download and use in their classes.

Students can also attend online digital marketing courses and join the Blueprint live training sessions to prepare for the Facebook Digital Marketing Associate Certification Exam.

There are 1,000 training slots available for this programme, which is available now.

Facebook's last training programme is called Boost, which targets SMEs. It provides free educational workshops for local business owners and community leaders to pick up digital skills to help them engage customers on social media.

It covers areas such as how to get started on Facebook and the company's Instagram, and creating content for customers and engagement strategies on social media.

The three-month programme also provides one-to-one support for businesses through their digital transformation journey.

Slated to begin in the middle of the year, Boost will invite up to 1,000 SMEs in the food and beverage, retail and tourism sectors to training webinars.

For more details on the courses, visit their website.