Google scheme extended

The focus of Google's Digital Garages has shifted more towards those with little or no previous digital experience.
The focus of Google's Digital Garages has shifted more towards those with little or no previous digital experience.

Google’s Digital Garage initiative, which was piloted in Leeds in 2015, has been so successful that the company has announced it is to extend its latest programme until April 2018.

Launched for a six-month run in April 2017, Google’s facility in Sheffield is the latest in a series of temporary training centres designed to help individuals and businesses tune up their computer skills free of charge.

Alina Dimofte, head of Digital Skills Policy at Google UK, said the initiative in Yorkshire had been a great success.

“We’ve helped young people looking to upskill and be able to apply for more and better jobs as well as experienced workers looking to make a change in their careers,” she said. “We’ve even welcomed two centenarians who wanted to take their first steps online and who’ve sent their first email from the Garage!”

There have been a few changes to the programme since it was first piloted in Leeds. Google has tripled the amount of training courses on offer and broadened their range; it still helps with online marketing and digital skills for business, but is now also doing more with digital newcomers and those who need to top up their skills for the workplace.

How successful the initiative will be in its mission to plug the nation’s digital skills gap remains to be seen, but the first indications will become known in December, when Google unveils the results of an impact study commissioned from market research company IPSOS.

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