The Google Garage re-launched in Manchester this week – the second time the project has visited GM in two years. The free service, which was opened at city centre premises on King Street by the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer, Ruth Porat, offers a range of online digital courses to help people get a better understanding of the evolving digital landscape – all of them free.
For businesses, there are tutorials from Google staff on everything from website design to online marketing and beyond. Learners can either cherry pick from 16 individual courses, or for those seeking a more holistic grounding in the world of digital, there’s an option to complete the entire course. For those completing the latter successfully, there’s a recognised certificate from Google and IAB Europe.
Google say whatever the size of the small business, they can help, from learning how to design and build a website to registering a domain name and, crucially, making sure it gets the right traffic. There is also a section on cyber security, offering simple basic steps businesses can take to protect themselves and their staff online, a section on spreadsheet working, and a course to help users design a social media strategy to market their business more effectively. All the coaching comes with free face-to-face adviser assistance, and all accessed between 10am and 6pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.
The Garage will be based at 39-43 King Street until December 2018 – a full 12 months compared to just five months last time. Andy Burnham, who was also at the launch, urged businesses to take a look. “This project could not have come at a better time,” he said. “We have already identified digital as an area where we want Manchester to be a leader on.
“However, we know there’s a skills gap and employers have problem finding the right staff, with the right digital skills. There are figures to show some firms are having to turn down new business because of this, and we have to do something about that.”
At Monday’s launch event, Google also announced plans for its Digital Garage on Wheels – a double decker bus that will effectively run an outreach service for the harder to reach parts of Greater Manchester – rural businesses take note.
For more information about the Digital Garage, and to see the full range of courses, visit: g.co/manchestergarage