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Google offers UK SMBs £87,000 scholarships to boost tech skills

This comes a week after the tech giant offered businesses in the US $100,000 worth of free courses

Google is offering up to 500 Career Certificate Scholarships for SMBs worth up to £87,000 per business to help them grow and develop high-impact tech skills.

The programmes are available on the online education service Coursera and offer flexible online training in high-demand areas like project management, IT support, data analytics, UX design, and digital marketing. The tech giant is making this available alongside the Federation of Small Businesses. 

Additionally, starting yesterday in Ipswich, the Google Digital Garage team will be visiting towns and cities across the UK, making stops in places like Leeds, Lincolnshire and Salisbury. The team will be helping to teach small businesses and individuals digital skills that can help them maximise their potential, it said. The team will run classes on how to write a CV, digital marketing strategy, and coding, as well as offer one-to-one mentoring with digital experts.

Google is introducing these initiatives following the results of new research it commissioned showing that 60% of the UK’s SMB owners believe they are operating in a post-pandemic new normal, with customer and employee expectations dramatically altered. 60% of SMB leaders said they needed more support to help adapt to the permanent changes brought about over the past two years.

35% said they’ve changed their business radically while 63% said that digital skills and tools are now more important than they were pre-pandemic, as they look to grow in a hybrid and more digitally mature world.

Furthermore, 72% of businesses said they would be interested in government or third-party funded digital skills training, and 68% in incentives for providing training.

“The UK’s growing digital economy has created opportunities for record numbers of British businesses to thrive, and we’re committed to helping them make the most of that opportunity as they adapt to a hybrid world,” said Ronan Harris, managing director for Google UK and Ireland.

The new training was applauded by chancellor Rishi Sunak who underlined that small businesses are the heart of the UK’s economy, creating jobs and prosperity across the country.

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“I want them to know we will always stand behind them which is why we have written to thousands of businesses across the country to highlight government support on offer to support them in the uncertain months ahead,” Sunak said. “From cuts to employment taxes and business rates, to incentivising firms to train and invest more, we want to create the conditions for our SMEs to thrive, helping the economy to recover and grow, and support jobs.”

This comes a week after the news that the tech giant is offering any US business over $100,000 worth of online courses free of charge. The courses can also be accessed through Coursera and Google is offering to cover the cost for up to 500 workers at a US business.

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