Google’s bold plan to give every Brit digital skills

By Oliver Smith 13 June 2017
Image: Getty/izusek.

40,000 sq ft classroom dedicated to digital.

Last year Google revealed plans to offer every single person in the UK free digital skills training, and today that plan became one step closer to reality.

“No matter where you live, no matter where you’re from, no matter what your job is – you deserve access to all the information, education, and opportunity the web has to offer,” Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said last November, pledging every Brit five hours of free training online or from 100 locations across the country.

Today, in the heart of London, the search giant is opening Google Academy, a vast 40,000 sq ft space dedicated to developing digital skills.

Image: Google Academy.

“The Academy has been created to educate and inspire everyone from schoolchildren to CEOs as part of Google’s plans to help build digital capability across the country,” said Google’s UK managing director Ronan Harris.

Of course, being a Google development the campus has playful touches. It’s designed with a retro Brighton-theme, complete with beach, electric cinema and funfair-styled auditoriums, and a “Cloud Promenade” for visitors to collaborate and join workshops.

Image: Google Academy.

But the Academy isn’t part of Google’s monolithic ‘groundscraper’ headquarters planned for King’s Cross, instead its education space will be based in Victoria.

Read more: Google’s epic ‘groundscraper’ is about to land in London

Its Academy isn’t the only way Google is trying to reach and teach every Brit.

For the last few years it’s also operated the online Google Digital Garage, which offers free training for small businesses looking to do more online and has already reached over a quarter of a million people.

Google Academy is based at 123 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, and opens today where it will host London Tech Week’s LeadersIn Tech Summit.