Google's Digital Garage returns to Birmingham

Official press release from partners Google:

Google is returning to Birmingham with a brand-new Digital Garage offering free face-to-face digital coaching right in the centre of the city at 134b New Street. The Google Digital Garage will open to the public at 1.00pm July 14th and stay open seven days a week for six months.

Almost two years after its first stint at the Library of Birmingham, Google’s revamped high street presence will deliver thirteen new courses and workshops that build on the small business support previously on offer. Attendees will be able to select from tailored coaching designed to boost their confidence using online tools, help them make the next step in their career or even offer advice on how to start and grow their business. Anyone can register at g.co/birminghamgarage or just pop-in for free advice.

In the near future, more than 90% of jobs will require digital literacy, so this is why new workshops will tackle work related topics such as: how to build your CV and personal brand online, creating better presentations and spreadsheets at work, and how to be efficient with your emails. For those looking for more specialised advice for a career in the digital or tech industries, Google will deliver an introduction to coding class, as well as coaching session on writing for social media.

Courses range from beginner to intermediate levels meaning that anyone can come and take part. For even more personalised advice, Google is inviting everyone to book one to one mentorship sessions delivered by the eighteen experts on hand at the Garage.

The Birmingham launch will also mark the first step in a new collaboration between Google and Which? who are joining forces to help educate consumers and businesses about web safety. Research shows that nearly a quarter of social media users never update their privacy settings, with 58% admitting they do not know how to and 43% using the same password for multiple online accounts. This new course will offer attendees simple yet crucial tips on how to keep their personal and business information safe, and how to spot the latest and most common online scams and threats.

Since 2015 Google’s Digital Garage programme has trained more than 150,000 people across the country and the newest Birmingham launch follows successes in Sheffield, Leeds, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Cardiff.

An example of a local business that has thrived since visiting the Digital Garage is Birmingham-based barber shop Barberology, started by Adam Gore. After attending two training sessions and several follow-ups, Adam had learnt how to optimise his website for better search engine rankings, as well as important social media skills to support his business. 

Two years on, Barberology is now ranked first in Google search in twenty-two search terms in Birmingham, and is serving 88% more customers. The company has become so successful that Adam now has expanded and opened two more barber shops, as well as taking home the coveted ‘Best Barbershop in Britain’ award last year.

This case is far from unique. IPPR North research has found that over 88% of attendees of previous Digital Garages have changed the way they run or promote their business online, with 68% saying they had seen positive results in increased sales, bookings, web traffic or social media after attending Google’s free training.

Ronan Harris, Google UK&I Managing Director, said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to return to the city of Birmingham to open our newest Digital Garage. We believe this is a truly transformative era, where new solutions to everyday problems are being answered more and more by technology. Throughout history, Birmingham has been renowned for its industry and entrepreneurial spirit and with over 6,000 technology businesses employing 40,000 people, the city has made real strides towards a flourishing digital economy that reaps benefits for everyone. We look forward to playing our part in this digital scene as it goes from strength to strength.” 

Councillor Tristan Chatfield, Cabinet for Transparency, Openness and Equality for Birmingham City Council, said: “It is an honour to be welcoming the return of Google's Digital Garage to Birmingham and it’s great to know it will sit right in the heart of our city, making it accessible to everyone. In this ever-changing digital world, online skills are increasingly vital for in empowering people individually and in business and by encourage everyone to make the most of this hugely beneficial free service. We are continually seeing growing creativity and entrepreneurialism in local people and we’re excited to see what else grows out of this opportunity.”

The Google Digital Garage will be delivered in partnership with the Birmingham City Council, Digital Birmingham, Business Birmingham, Good Things Foundation and Which?. 

Sign up for free classes at g.co/birminghamgarage

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