Google opens pop-up 'garage' offering free digital skills courses in Commercial Road in Portsmouth

Google staff, Kirstie Kavanagh, Glenn White, Natalie Buckle and Jerry Merrill outside the new training hub'Picture: Habibur Rahman
Google staff, Kirstie Kavanagh, Glenn White, Natalie Buckle and Jerry Merrill outside the new training hub'Picture: Habibur Rahman
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GOOGLE has opened a new training hub in Portsmouth to boost digital skills.

The Google Digital Garage will offer free digital skill courses at 105a Commercial Road, Portsmouth until April 2020. 

DWP staff,  Leone Hill, Craig Forster-Kirkham and Anna Marshall outside the Google training hub.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

DWP staff, Leone Hill, Craig Forster-Kirkham and Anna Marshall outside the Google training hub.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

More than 400 people have already signed up to attend a selection of the 19 courses on offer, which range from ‘Build a Simple Website for Your Business’ to ‘Introduction to Coding.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt attended the opening and said she had already signed up to learn a new digital skill. 

She said: ‘At the grand age of 46, I’m going to learn how to code - it's such a fantastic skill.

‘I hope lots of people from across Portsmouth sign up to learn something new.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt speaking to Google staff.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt speaking to Google staff.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

Since 2015, Google Garage has visited more than 500 locations across the UK and trained more than 400,000 people. 

Portsmouth was sure to make ‘a significant dent’ in Google’s goal to train 100,000 people by 2020, according to Portsmouth City Councillor Steve Pitt, cabinet member for culture and city development.

He said: ‘We are very competitive herein Portsmouth, so I’m sure we will make the most of the opportunity.’

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said the centre will continue Portsmouth’s tradition of being ‘a city of makers and doers.’

Google Digital Garage, a new digital training hub has opened in Commercial road, Portsmouth.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

Google Digital Garage, a new digital training hub has opened in Commercial road, Portsmouth.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘I’ve recently launched my new website, which I was running off my phone – so coming here to learning to run that better and how to stay safe online would be useful.’

Also attending the opening were representatives from the Jobcentre on Arundel Street, as well as volunteers from veterans support group All Call Signs, who were hoping to direct ex-service personnel to the skills centre. 

Mr Morgan added: ‘I’m really pleased to see All Call Signs here, 

‘There's a lot that can be done to support the veteran community in civilian life.’

The training will be delivered by staff from the Good Things Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping social inclusion through digital connectivity, which recently received a  £1.7m grant from Google. 

Trainers from the centre will also be touring Portsmouth via a ‘digital’ route master bus, which will be in Palmerston Road on Tuesday.