AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


A trip to Google HQ!

Caroline at the Google offices with a foosball table in GoogleLast week on the 10th and 11th July, I attended the Google Partners Summit in Google EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) Headquarters based in Dublin hosted by the University Programmes Team. They invited various career services professionals and diversity partners from the EMEA regions to this 2 day summit.

GetAHEAD have been building relationships with Google for the past number of years, however I was not too familiar with the work Google does as I have only taken on the role of being GetAHEAD Project Co-ordinator in the past couple of months. So needlessly to say I was eager to meet the Google University Programmes (UP) Team and also extremely excited to visit the offices of Google to see if all of the stories and pictures I’ve heard about Google offices were true! And they were!

Arriving at Google Docks main office reception, already I was in awe of the cool décor! The first day kicked off with lunch in their canteen which was basically a free for all food wise; we could have anything we wanted, and I mean anything. They even had a DIY ice cream machine with different choices of toppings and flakes. Yes, I did have ice cream with hundreds and thousands with a flake, how could I resist?!

Our agenda for the next 2 days was pretty jam packed so instead of this blog post taking up all the room in talking about how awesome their offices were, check out the GetAHEAD Facebook page where I’ve uploaded some pictures so that I have plenty of room in this blog to tell you about some of the programmes that Google run for students and graduates.

Who are the University Programmes Team and what do they do?

The UP Team are the team who work on campuses doing Skills Seminars, focusing on topics such as CV writing, interviews and presentation skills etc…They also look after some of Google’s internal programmes such as...


  • AdCamp is a week-long, all expenses paid programme, predominately for students who are studying in the sales/marketing area, where you will learn presentation skills, marketing and mobile advertising.

Student Ambassadors

  • You can apply to be a Google Student Ambassador for your college/university for a 1 year period. You can be from any discipline but you must be passionate about technology and Google and spread the idea of using Google products in an innovative way on campus.

Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC)

  • The GOMC is a competition where you can have 3 – 6 students working together in a team to help a local business market themselves via online advertising. The team are given a budget of $250 for an AdWords account and must complete the challenge in 3 weeks. A team must work with a lecturer if they want to take on the challenge.

All of the above programmes are great opportunities for current students however they are all an open competition which means the UP team receive thousands of applications per year per programme. Never fear though as Google do a program which is somewhat more restrictive as they want students from under-represented groups such as ethnic minorities, LGBT, disadvantaged background and students with disabilities. What is it? Read below!

BOLD Immersion Programme

BOLD Immersion Program; BOLD stands for Building Opportunities for Leadership & Development and it’s targeted at those from under-represented groups such as the LGBT community, socio-economic backgrounds and those with disabilities. Their application process is done through a referral system and as AHEAD are one of their diversity partners, students with disabilities can apply through us.

The programme runs for 3 days during the summer in Google HQ in Dublin; students will get the opportunity to learn about CV writing, leadership skills, networking and complete a business challenge. Unfortunately the 2014 BOLD Immersion Program has already taken place but when applications open for 2015, we’ll be posting it on our blog and sending it amongst our database so make sure you register on our database here.

Check out the video summary of the 2013 BOLD Immersion Program below.

Internships & the Google Application Process

Aside from the specific programs Google run, they also run a 3 to 6 month internship programme for current students. This means that after you complete your internship at Google, you must be returning back to college. The internships are fully paid and they offer a relocation fee for those travelling to/from a different country (they often get international students coming from the EMEA region). Interns will get a specific project to work on which will be 50% of their time and the other 50% is working within the Google team. The applications for internships usually are open from September – March.

If you’re thinking about applying to Google whether it be in general or for one of their programmes, we got an insight into their application and recruitment processes. Oh and you might be interested to know that any new people starting at Google are called ‘Nooglers’ and they are made to wear silly helicopter hats for their induction period! I did see a few of them roaming around the building during my time there!

Google pride themselves on diversity and teamwork, so they want to see your CV reflect this. How? By showing your involvement in societies, any international experience you may have, entrepreneurial spirit and teamwork experience.

They also covered very much what we have already in our CV Writing section which is that CV shouldn’t be more than 2 pages long and the preferred format is in PDF. Covers letters are not required unless stated or if you wish to say something that cannot be reflected on a CV.

If you are invited to interview at Google, there are a number of interviews to go through and the first couple of interviews are done over the phone and then a few on-site interviews with different Google teams. Their interviews are based around 4 main attributes; leadership, Googlyness, role related knowledge and problem solving.

Disability & Diversity at Google

Obviously working for AHEAD means I was very keen to get an insight into Google and what supports they offer for those with disabilities. One of the things that raised an alarm in my head was when Google conduct phone interviews before meeting a person face to face; this is something that I know can be a barrier for certain people with disabilities such as myself who may not be comfortable using the phone (I’m Deaf!). When I asked them what happens if a person isn’t comfortable do due to a person’s disability, they said they would be happy to arrange an alternative by two ways, either by directly informing Google themselves or via their partner EmployAbility who are based in the UK and act as a third party and make recommendations to Google.

Google also has a Diversity Network and there are different groups under this umbrella one of them being the Disability Employer Resource Group (ERG). The Disability ERG is made up of employees with disabilities themselves or employees who are keen and have an interest in this area. The EMEA Diversity Manager also told us that they are starting to run a series of workshops with current staff on topics like unconscious bias.

They also run a Scholarship for Students with Disabilities for those who are studying in the area of Computer Science/Engineering, Informatics or a related field.

So overall, what did I learn from my 2 days at the summit?

Well that nearly everybody wants to be a Googler! At the end of the 2 days, we met some of the current Google staff and I couldn’t help but notice that most of them had participated in some of the student initiatives that Google offer (BOLD, GOMC etc…). So my advice is, if you’re still a student, apply for those programmes that are mentioned above.

The best part for me though was meeting the UP Team and making those connections with the staff and hopefully GetAHEAD and Google will deliver a skills seminar in the near future… watch this space!

To keep up to date with stuff that’s happening in Google for students and graduates, connect with their social media sites on Google+, YouTube and Twitter and check out the following links below.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog, if you want to get in touch with me, you can email me at getahead@ahead.ie or contact me via phone/text on 087 3979278.

Caroline McGrotty
GetAHEAD Project Co-ordinator

Picture of all of the attendees at the summit
All of the attendees at the Google Partners Summit.

First published on 17th July 2014.

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

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