Google to launch huge digital training program

by L&D01 Dec 2016
Google is embarking on a large-scale training program in the UK that is designed to improve the general digital literacy of the nation.

Starting in 2017, five hours of free digital training will be available to everyone, thanks to pop-up training centres known as 'Digital Garages' that will appear in 100 towns and cities across the country. These centres will offer face-to-face training in digital skills such as using email, searching online and making the most of social media. There will also be free online courses available.

According to Matt Brittin, President Europe, the Middle East and Africa with Google, 80 per cent of UK businesses believe that could grow faster with improved digital skills. Brittin said the free training will be for "anyone who wants to get the most out of the digital world – whether you're an individual who is curious or a business that wants to grow."

"We need to connect with those people who feel marginalised by the way the world is moving."

A House of Commons science and technology select committee warned in June that the UK risks being left behind if the government does not take action. It was estimated that the digital skills gap costs the UK £63 billion (AU$105 billion) per year in lost GDP.

According to the committee's report, 23 per cent of Britons lack digital skills. It was also found that 90 per cent of new jobs require digital know-how of some kind, while more than 70 per cent of employers are unwilling to interview candidates who lack basic IT skills.

The UK's digital minister Matt Hancock said the initiative will "help more people to get the tools they need to contribute to society and enjoy the benefits of the internet."

The nationwide, all-inclusive program follows Google's 2015 implementation of the Digital Garage concept in the UK, originally designed to improve the digital skills of small-to-medium-sized businesses, which launched in Australia in October.