Google to tour UK high streets teaching retailers digital skills

Google is set to embark on a tour of the UK’s high streets in an effort to teach retailers the digital skills needed to succeed in today’s digital economy.

As part of the government’s National Skills Partnership, the tech giant has teamed up with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to launch the Google Digital Garage.

Its Digital Garage is set to tour 15 of the UK’s high streets across the country starting in May, and will offer local businesses free digital skills education, from bespoke training to face-to-face mentorship programmes.

The training has reportedly been tailored to the specific challenges which have been ravaging the high street in recent years, allowing them to sell outside of their immediate region, improve their digital marketing and advertising and grow their customer base and their sales.

READ MORE: You can now shop items in Google Image searches

Google’s Digital Garage has so far trained over 300,000 people in the UK since it was launched in 2015, visiting over 500 villages towns and cities.

“At a time when high streets are under intense pressure from rising business rates, higher employment costs and digital competition, it is more important than ever to innovate for the future,” chair of the FSB’s retail policy unit Michael Weedon said.

“Many small businesses are in need of support to improve their digital skills, including high street firms. Through expanded digital skills, and adopting digital technologies, small businesses can find new ways of growing and adapting for the future.”

Google’s managing director of UK and Ireland Ronan Harris added: “Our hope is that by providing dedicated, tailored training through the Digital Garage we can help bring new growth to high streets. Despite the ongoing uncertainty posed by Brexit, we want to show businesses on high streets how digital skills can help them to thrive, not just as a place for commerce , but also as a cultural centerpiece of the communities that they serve.”

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