Blueprint Trainer Network: MDEC’s trainers to be trained by Facebook to help SMBs develop digital skills

Partly due to the ongoing COVID-19, the digitalisation of the economy in Southeast Asia has rapidly accelerated in 2020—at levels not expected until 2025, according to Jiro Nagata, Regional Head of Business Education Training, APAC, at Facebook. In fact, Malaysians have the fastest growing adoption rate for e-commerce in the region, with 48 percent of users doing the vast majority of their shopping online over the past year or so.

At the Facebook Summit Malaysia 2020, Country Director of Facebook Malaysia Nicole Tan explained that the company has a stated commitment to quicken Malaysia’s digital transformation. To best navigate “new normal”, as she called it, acceleration in digital upskilling is key.

As such, Facebook Malaysia is continuing to work with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) through their e-Usahawan programme to equip small businesses with relevant skills (with Facebook tools)—through the Facebook Blueprint programme.

The Facebook Blueprint

Nagata explains that a large part of this effort will centre around the Facebook Blueprint programme. Blueprint is essentially Facebook’s digital marketing curriculum, made up of free online courses, training opportunities, and even a “proper, invigilated” examination process—to become a Facebook Certified Trainer.

A variety of topics—spanning across various FB apps and services proficiencies—are available, including creative strategy, digital marketing, and media planning. He also referred to self-styled “gurus” of Facebook ads, warning that that they may not be up to date with the latest algorithms and tools that the continually-evolving platform (and Instagram/WhatsApp) may have.

“Whether you’re growing a business or seeking employment with larger companies that need advanced digital marketing skills, Facebook is committed to support Malaysians to successfully obtain Blueprint certifications.”

As part of the partnership between Facebook and MDEC, 100 digital marketing trainers from MDEC will be supported to attain their Blueprint certifications. With the “train-the-trainer” model, these trainers will then use their certifications to better empower local SMBs with expertise on various digital marketing aspects, to help grow, and digitalise their businesses.

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Song Hock Koon, Director of eCommerce at MDEC, revealed that a big challenge that arose as a result of the pandemic was the quick switch from offline to online training methods. They’ve rolled out an online training programme with e-Usahawan, although there are still obstacles to overcome.

For example, these trainers aren’t specifically trained to deliver sessions over the internet—as opposed to the more conventional, classroom-style method of training. As such, the train-the-trainer model is now going digital, with Song emphasising the importance of trainers to the programme. Once they’re certified, the idea is to disseminate the expertise across the country—hence the train-the-trainer model.

Facebook is also providing the infrastructure for MDEC’s trainers, so that they have the necessary tools to connect with SMBs. On the Facebook Trainer Network Community Hub, MDEC trainers can host their on-demand training sessions, which supposedly also improve bandwidth issues that may hamper online sessions.

The Facebook Blueprint programme is open to everyone. Business owners are encouraged to connect with MDEC via the Go-eCommerce portal, while interested individuals can head over to Facebook for more information.