Google Professional Certificate Program - APDC Portugal
The Google Professional Certificate Program, available on the Coursera online platform, is an initiative in Portugal that has boosted employment and career prospects for many people in Portugal since its kick-off. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the APDC - Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications (a non-profit public institution established in 1984 for the promotion of communications) and Google Portugal, with the support of IEFP - Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP).
The initiative is also supported by the Portuguese Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. Its aim is to fast-forward training and the development of digital skills, and so far, the program has shown successful results in bridging the digital skills gap in Portugal.
Why is this a good practice?
Program participants can access freely a diverse set of online courses focusing on the main aspects and foundations of technology and digital marketing.
Accessibility by default
Accessibility is embedded in the program's design: courses are tailored, available online, and offered free of charge. They are self-paced, meaning learners can study at the time and pace that suits them best, regardless of where they are in the world. Training courses are relevant and take into account latest technological developments and trends, meaning that they are aligned with current labour market needs, especially in the context of the ongoing digital transformation and the need for qualified digital talents across industries.
Employability in design
The link to employment past the program's end date is reinforced by a recognised accreditation: the certificate for completion issued by Google is industry-recognised and adds credibility and value to learners' CVs. The hands-on, practical nature of the program is another plus: participants can develop practical skills in areas like digital marketing, project management, e-commerce, or ICT support, as well as many others.
Since its start, the initiative has paved the way for filling the digital skills gap in Portugal by fostering the development of qualified talent, regardless of one's background. No higher education diploma is required for participants to take part in this program - another aspect that ranks high in accessibility, making it the perfect fit for anyone looking to up- or re-skill into a more digital role. Candidates are not required to have any prior training or experience: yet, they still can access a range of roles with above average remuneration, and jobs that are aligned with the realities of the labour market today.
Looking more closely at cybersecurity: evidence of success
The program is also continuously being updated to incorporate the latest developments in the fields it offers learning in, and also expanded to reach more people. There are more than 500 additional scholarships, in addition to the 6,000 that are being awarded in the other areas of training (IT technical support, data analysis, project management, user experience design, digital marketing and e-commerce, etc.).
After the success of the initial uptake of previous courses, APDC and Google Portugal have also launched applications for a new program - Cybersecurity Professional Certificate. The new certification program provides an overview of the impact of cybersecurity practices on organisations, and focuses on equipping learners with the knowledge they need to identify common risks, threats and vulnerabilities online, as well as techniques to counter them. Learning outcomes include knowledge of network and device protection, safeguarding of people and organisational data, and protecting oneself (and one's business) from cyberattacks using Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools. Learners also gain hands-on experience with Python, Linux and SQL.
After a first edition, in which 3,000 licenses were awarded, which had more than 16,000 applications, this program was extended to 6,000 licenses, to carry out online training courses. With 10 hours of study time per week, the course certificate can be obtained in less than 6 months. Learners also receive preparation for the CompTIA Security+ exam, the industry-leading certification for cybersecurity positions. The program is ideal for unemployed or those looking to reskill in ICT.