GOOGLE has announced it will be opening a new training hub in Portsmouth to boost digital skills.
The launch of the new Google Digital Garage hub on October 11 is part of a major investment to help improve digital standards throughout the UK.
The search engine giant’s dedication to the project is highlighted by chief executive, Sundar Pichai, offering every person in the country free digital skills training.
It comes after Google pledged a £1.7m grant to Good Things Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping social inclusion through digital connectivity.
A report by Google has also revealed a shortage of digital skills in the south east is impacting on career mobility with adults admitting they would benefit from training to open up new opportunities.
Half of small medium enterprises (SMEs) agree there is a digital skills gap between what businesses need to compete in the digital economy and the talent available in the workforce. The report also adds that nearly half of SMEs have no social media presence and nearly a quarter have no official website.
Ronan Harris, managing director, Google UK and Ireland, said: ‘The need for digital skills is becoming more obvious in all sectors including those which feel far from technology related. This latest research shows that the digital skills gap is a reality for many communities across the country and with this comes limitations of personal and professional growth and opportunity.
‘By supplying tailored training, we hope to provide the tools and digital skills required to grow the careers of individuals.’
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘While many people still see technology and gaining digital skills as a challenge beyond their reach, with the right training these skills can be picked up quickly, helping bridge the gap.
‘Finding people with the right technical skills is something employers say is their single biggest challenge, and one that is increasing.’
To attend go to 105a Commercial Road. The hub is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday with training carried out by the Good Things Foundation. Helen Milner, CEO at the foundation, said: ‘Together we can help people get the most out of digital and all of the opportunities that it brings.’