The case for digital platform upskilling

Why Jelly Academy wants certifications to be the norm for all marketing execs (and how they're making it happen)
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Jelly can help marketers get certifications in Google Search Ads, Display Ads and Analytics, as well as Facebook Blueprint and HootSuite

Born of Jelly Marketing – the social media, PR and digital agency based in Fort Langley, BC – Jelly Academy has become one of Canada’s leading digital marketing training specialists, empowering individuals, businesses and brands to succeed in the digital age.

Founding partner, Darian Kovacs, notes the Academy was created to serve a range of clients: traditional marketers wanting to increase their digital understanding and expertise; brands that want to build digital agency acumen in-house; and individuals looking to upskill and get back in the workforce by upgrading their credentials.

Among other things, Jelly can help them all get certifications in Google Search Ads, Display Ads and Analytics, as well as, Facebook Blueprint and HootSuite – industry-recognized benchmarks that demonstrate expertise in essential platforms.

Notes Jelly Academy founding partner Darian Kovacs: “We want people to take digital marketing and professional SEO marketers more seriously.”

Notes Jelly Academy founding partner Darian Kovacs: “We want people to take digital marketing and professional SEO marketers more seriously.”

“Part of the reason we’re investing so heavily in training is that we want the rising tide to lift all boats,” says Kovacs. “We want people to take digital marketing and professional SEO marketers more seriously.”

Kovacs describes the certification like a journeyman’s ticket – widely-recognized proof that you’ve achieved expertise in your craft. “It’s a trained skill. In the same way an electrician gets a ticket, we have industry standard certificates now. It’s trying to get folks up to speed, and saying: ‘Guys, let’s start recognizing these certificates and training to the level that our students graduate with.”

And with work becoming remote, those certifications are opening doors like never before.

To track the efficacy of its programs, Jelly partnered with provincial employment support agency WorkBC to survey clients who have gone through the process. (Sixty percent of tuition fees for BC grads has been covered through the WorkBC Skills Training Program.) Among other findings, the results showed that 68% of grads who came into the program with an existing career in marketing received a pay increase, and 92% of grads who were without a job landed a career in marketing within three months of graduation.

“I’m Indigenous,” he notes, “and we’ve been able to do some training with the Métis Nation and Stó:lo Community Futures. We’re doing a big national campaign with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) to train more people across the country. And I think with the training we’ve done for these Indigenous communities, we’ve given them an edge. And not just Indigenous businesses, but all businesses. We can give them the resources and tools.”

Since its launch in 2013, Jelly Academy has delivered over 80,000 hours of learning to more than 3,000 professionals in over 120 industries.

Jelly has five specialties: digital ads, SEO, website analytics, PR and social media. The main online course runs three hours a week for six weeks. Tuition includes Facebook Blueprint exam fees and HootSuite exam fees.

To keep the curriculum current, Kovacs and his team host a weekly podcast called Marketing News Canada, which taps into the expertise of two or three thought leaders in the industry – think companies like Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, LEGO, Starbucks – asking them about trends they’re seeing, what they’re working on and what they are following. Jelly takes that learning and works it into the curriculum, first running it past brand leaders and agency owners to make sure they are hitting the right notes and providing the best training.

After a recent show that featured Best Buy, the electronics retailer partnered with Jelly and the CCAB to provide laptops and phones to Indigenous digital marketing businesses and individuals who needed to upgrade their tech. Together, the partners were able to help 50 marketers.

 

To keep  curriculum current, Kovacs and his team host a weekly online talk show called Marketing News Canada, tapping into the expertise of two or three thought leaders in the industry.

To keep curriculum current, Kovacs and his team host a weekly online talk show called Marketing News Canada, tapping into the expertise of two or three thought leaders in the industry.

If anyone wants to go deeper after graduation, Jelly introduced a new masterclass stream on topics such as SEO, data analytics and website development. Grads can tune in for three or four new sessions a month, based on an annual subscription.

For corporate clients, Jelly offers private training, training teams for six weeks. And to help the industry access talent who are fully up to speed on digital, Jelly offers individuals a resume and job interview session at course conclusion and sends grad resumes out to about 8,000 brands.