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On a list of things that we could talk about until we’re blue in the face, the importance of digital skills to SMEs is right at the top. Quite simply, any business that doesn’t know its Java from its JPEGs is going to fall woefully short in this day and age. Well, who better to address this digital skills shortage than Google? The tech giant has today launched its latest Digital Garage in the Library of Birmingham to help get more of Britain’s businesses fit for the digital age.
Set to open on Monday July 27, the Digital Garage in Birmingham will give entrepreneurs and SMEs across the Midlands direct access to Google’s expertise, helping them harness the power of digital to their commercial advantage. Businesses that pop along can attend masterclasses and one-to-one mentoring sessions with some of Google’s top techies and get themselves a much-needed digital tune up – all completely free of charge.
Google’s research has shown that while SMEs believe digital technology is important to their future success, they are having trouble finding the right skills, with 51% of businesses saying young people simply aren’t learning them. Meanwhile, almost one in three businesses are being held back by high training costs, despite nearly two fifths saying digital technology will improve their productivity.
Thankfully, Google has a solution to this too. Its charitable arm Google.org has pledged to provide coding training sessions for more than 25,000 teachers in partnership with Code Club Pro, Computing at Schools (CAS) and Raspberry Pi. Workshops will be held at ‘garages’ and in local schools and will be complemented by online training resources, while Raspberry Pi computers will be donated for use in the classroom.
Sajid Javid, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, who will attend today’s launch of the Digital Garage in Birmingham, said: “I’m delighted to be supporting Google’s Digital Garage in Birmingham today. 81% of consumers shop online at least once a month but only a third of UK companies trade over the internet. Google’s project will help small businesses get the essential digital skills they need to be a success and play a strong role in the Midlands’ Engine for Growth.”
Eileen Naughton, managing director for UK & Ireland at Google, added: “It can be easy to think that technology is just for start-ups but we know it can bring real growth to all businesses. At a time when there is pressure for the UK to boost productivity to contribute to real wage increases, we believe Google can be a real growth engine that helps deliver these gains.”
Businesses in Birmingham and Leeds – where Google launched its first Digital Garage back in March – can get themselves signed up for events and workshops right here.
When it comes to tech, it’s safe to say you can count on Google.