Google is opening Scotland’s first Google Digital Garage on the high street, in Edinburgh, and launching a digital skills training programme in Glasgow as part of a major new investment in Scotland to help upskill local people.

The Garage, a training hub at 42 Shandwick Place, is providing free coaching in skills like ‘taking your first steps online’ to ‘how to build your cv’ and ‘staying safe online’, to help anyone grow their confidence, career or business with the help of online tools.

Google is also running around 100 digital skills training events in and around Glasgow, including at the Mitchell Library, for local people and businesses. This marks Google’s return to Scotland after a successful first tenure at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow in 2016, where thousands of local residents benefited from free digital skills training and business advice.

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Ruth Davidson, opened the Google Digital Garage, where expert coaches will work to deliver Google’s goal of helping 100,000 people in the UK find a job or grow in their career through digital skills training over three years.

90 per cent of new UK jobs require digital literacy, yet according to the Digital Economy Business Survey in Scotland, just one in four businesses feel their employees have the skills to meet their digital needs and two in five Scottish employers have vacancies in tech roles. At the same time, research shows up to 16 per cent of adults in Scotland’s most deprived areas don’t use the internet, contributing to gaps in digital skills and opportunity.

Google launched the Google Digital Garage in the UK three years ago “to help address this gap in opportunity and give people in the UK the skills they need to achieve the goals they haven’t reached – yet”.

Ronan Harris, MD, Google UK & Ireland, commented: “Everyone should have access to the digital skills they need to grow their confidence, career or business online.

“That’s why we’re excited to bring the Google Digital Garage to Scotland, offering free skills training for local people and businesses. Whether you want to take your first steps online, find your next job, turn your passion into your business or launch a new idea, pop in to learn how with our expert coaches.”

Small businesses with a strong web presence grow more than twice as quickly as competitors, create more than twice as many jobs, and are 50% more likely to sell outside of their immediate region. Business owners Laura Service and Lisa Henderson set up their own design business ‘Ilka’ after attending the Google Digital Garage in Glasgow.

Lisa said: “We were amazed at how simple it was to learn online marketing to promote our skills as designers and enable us to start working on our own projects.

“With new insights into digital strategy and attracting potential customers, we were inspired to take the risk we hadn’t taken yet, and launch our own business. It paid off – after visiting the Google Digital Garage we immediately won our first client and were commissioned to design the immersive brewery tour experience at West on the Green!”

The Google Digital Garage in Scotland is being delivered in partnership with local and national organisations including the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Business Gateway, and Good Things Foundation.

The Google Digital Garage has already trained 250,000 people across the UK, helping tens of thousands people find a job or grow their career, and supporting thousands of businesses to grow.

Anyone can pop in or register online here to take part in free coaching.