Source: hammerandtusk (Unsplash)

On 2 September 2020, Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC) launched the Penang Young Digital Talent Programme following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Big Domain Sdn Bhd. The programme aims to train 1,000 young adults in various digital skills within two years, and includes courses on key opinion leader (KOL), IR4.0, e-commerce, e-sports, web design, copywriting and video editing. The long-term goal of this initiative is aligned with the Penang2030 vision to develop Penang into a digital talent hub, which will lead to more job opportunities and raise household income.

This platform is important for Penang to keep up with the development of global trends that are increasingly heading towards online and digital commerce. These young digital talents will be equipped with the right skills to support medium and small-scale industries during the digital transformation process.

Under the MoU, PYDC and Big Domain will share their knowledge and experience in the relevant fields and hold joint workshops, training, and development programmes for participants. Since March 2021, a total of 349 youths have been trained in the courses listed in Q1, such as KOL, e-commerce, digital marketing, and web design. Under the programme, young entrepreneurs were taught ways to promote their businesses on social media, especially under the strain of the pandemic.

Exabytes, itself a web hosting company helmed by a young entrepreneur, is also collaborating with PYDC in their Digitalise Penang for Youth CSR campaign. The campaign, which has a total sponsorship of RM500,000, serves to nurture and empower the youth between the ages of 15 to 35 in Malaysia by growing them digitally. Under this campaign, the youth will learn relevant digital skills such as Domain Setup, Web Hosting, VPS and more to help them set up their own online business or fine-tune their programming capabilities for a successful career in the tech industry.

An old proverb says, “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Taken at face value, this philosophy is sound, but a little more thought exposes a crucial problem: it ignores the fact that sometimes people just do not have the resources to start something even if they have the skills. In order for the man to fish, he still needs, at the very least, a fishing rod and bait.

The Digitalise Penang for Youth campaign mitigates some problems with resources by working with PYDC to offer the youth 1,000 free domains, with which they can use to start their own businesses and websites. “This initiative is a step forward in our effort to empower digitalisation among Malaysian youth and give them opportunities to grow digitally and to leave a meaningful footprint in the industry,” said Chan Kee Siak, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Exabytes Network Sdn Bhd.