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Google offers free tech skills training to UK jobseekers

Online training in areas such as IT support and UX design will be available through the Department for Work and Pensions

Google has launched free online tech scholarships to UK jobseekers looking to upgrade their skills to improve their job prospects.

Offered in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Google Career Certificates are available on Coursera.org, and will upskill 9,500 claimants of Universal Credit.

Individuals will be able to access the scholarships via a referral from their Work Coach, so the training will be offered through the government’s network of jobcentres. The DWP will distribute 9,000 scholarships and Camden Council will make 500 places available.

“Helping jobseekers to build the skills they need to take up new opportunities is vital for our next stage,” said minister for employment Mims Davies. “Our Plan for Jobs puts skills at the heart of our recovery and crucially Google’s Career Certificates will help people showcase their digital skills and build our workforce of tomorrow.”

Under the scheme, jobseekers can access courses including IT support, data analyst, project manager and UX designer, which do not require prior qualifications or experience. The training can be completed in three to five weeks if done full time; however, learners take up to six months to complete the courses, which are recognised by tech employers including Google.

In addition, Google.org has announced grant funding to The Prince’s Trust and INCO Academy, aimed at upskilling 1,500 young people from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities across the UK.

A study published by Google and The McKinsey Global Institute before Covid-19 suggests that, to ensure job creation, more than 90 million workers may need to develop significant new skills by 2030.

According to Big Tech, search data in the UK suggests people are looking to get reskilled, as searches for ‘information technology online course’ have seen an increase of 780%, ‘online courses with certificates’ are up 259% in just the past week alone.

The Covid-19 crisis has provided the motivation for many people to upskill, according to research from TechUK published in July 2020, which said eight out of 10 respondents agreed that “digital skills will become more important in the next 12 months”.

Some 58% of those polled in the association’s survey claimed an interest in gaining more digital skills over the same period of time. The level of interest is even higher among those aged 16-24 (73%) and 25-34 (75%).

On the other hand, a report by FutureDotNow released in May 2021 found that a ‘hidden middle’ of more than 17 million people do not have the abilities needed to participate and to contribute to the digital world in life and at work.

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