June 3rd, 2019
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By 2020, there is expected to be 24 million fewer highly-skilled workers than China’s growing technology empire requires. Experts say that the opportunity cost of not bridging this skills gap could cost China up to $250 billion.

For the world’s fastest growing digital economy, these numbers are worrying. Bred in part due to the rote learning method that has long been characteristic of China’s education system, there is a widening gap between the skills required by employers and what many digital professionals can actually offer.

Launched last May, The Digital Academy sought to address this growing issue. A joint learning initiative by leading full stack coding school Le Wagon and independent digital agency DLG (Digital Luxury Group), the event was formulated as a series of workshops that focused on equipping young digital professionals with the relevant technical, design and digital marketing skills to help them succeed in today’s digital world.

“We found that while a lot of young professionals are eager to hone their skills and learn more about various topics related to digital marketing, there was a lack of suitable avenues to do so,” said Pablo Mauron, Partner and Managing Director China of DLG. “Yes, there are many executive education courses available in China. But these are largely academic in nature and often lack real-world perspective. The Digital Academy offered participants a context, and allowed them to see things through the lens of an agency,” he adds.

Over 200 participants signed up for the one-day event, which offered 15 modules spanning a variety of topics. They ranged from the highly technical – such as courses on building Mini Programs and learning the basics of JavaScript – to the artistic, including a workshop on storytelling and creative copywriting. Attendees from all walks of life joined in the mix, including executives from mega brands (like Chanel, Burberry and Rimowa), agency professionals (from firms such as Ogilvy, We Are Social and Social Touch), freelancers and students.

“The courses were well-structured and offered really interesting insights,” said a participant from VML. “The speakers genuinely tried to engage with the audience and shared their experiences in a meaningful manner,” she says. Organised in a mixture of formal classroom settings and casual workshops based on course requirements, participants were not only encouraged to interact with their instructors but their fellow course mates as well.

“Beyond creating an effective learning environment for everyone, we wanted to build up the sense of community amongst participants,” said Thibault Genaitay, Head of China at Le Wagon. “Collaboration and mutual learning is a key driver of growth in the digital industry, and we wanted to make sure that spirit shone through in The Digital Academy.”