Due to popular demand Google’s Digital Garage in Manchester city centre has extended its residency until April 2019.

Since Manchester-born Google CFO Ruth Porat first opened the doors to the Manchester Digital Garage in November 2017, the digital skills training centre has hosted tens of thousands of successful sessions. An incredible 1300 Mancunians have taken part in the five week ‘Start Your Own Business’ course, which aims to grow participants knowledge and confidence in starting their own venture. Meanwhile, 7,900 people have taken part in the digital marketing course series, whilst more than 1,900 have taken part in the ‘Skills for Work’ course series.

The expert coaches at the Google Digital Garage have given a total of 4,600 one-to-one mentoring sessions: this equates to over 2,300 hours or 96 days of 24/7 free individual digital skills coaching.

To sustain UK economic growth the government has prioritised education in coding. The Digital Garage has shown support for this initiative by helping more than 1,300 people start their journey to becoming coders, through their participation in the five week hands-on ‘Intro to Coding’ course.

Google has also transformed a traditional double-decker bus into a mobile training hub. Over a 12 week period the bus visited 50 locations across Greater Manchester offering free digital skills training for those who wished to attend.

Google has run over 230 events with local partners and groups such as Headway Salford, which helps people with brain injuries, Bury Adult Learning Centre and Asian Mum’s Network. Google has also worked alongside national organisations including The Big Issue, Girl Guides and the BBC.

In January 2018, Business partners Rachael Northall and Clare Totty visited the Google Digital Garage for help promoting their business How to I Do: a North West based boutique wedding directory. The coaches and courses accessible in the Garage helped Rachael and Clare to build their confidence and skill-set to impact the growth of their business.

Clare explained, “Neither of us work in web design and the online aspect of the business was initially a little overwhelming. The Google Digital Garage was the perfect place for us to gain the advice, pointers and, crucially, the support to get started. It is really conveniently located and free – so going was a no-brainer! When we first attended and had one-to-one coaching, we realised the Google Digital Garage also hosted a number of courses so we attended ‘Writing for Social Media, ‘Intro to Digital Marketing’ and the ‘Start Your Own Business course’ with a few more one-to-ones along the way!”

Within a few weeks of attending the Google Digital Garage, the pair launched How to I Do on social media and put into practice their new skills. The business quickly gained a strong presence on all social channels which was a great proofpoint for the founders in recognising the importance of digital.

Clare continues: “We launched the website in early May 2018. It was really exciting and rewarding and received a great response. We regularly receive emails from suppliers who have gained new business through How to I Do and we are proud that we are easy to find on Google. We are expanding all the time with the addition of new independent businesses and a growing following of couples. We have many plans for the future!”

Ronan Harris, MD UK and Ireland Google, said: “It’s especially heartening to see that almost 2000 people have taken part in the Skills for Work training, considering that more than two thirds of tech businesses in Manchester say a lack of access to highly skilled workers is their main barrier to growth.

Clare and Rachael’s story is emblematic of the issues faced by many small business owners; a great business idea without resources or expertise to promote it. Over the past 12 months, it’s been fantastic to see how the Digital Garage can really help entrepreneurs take that next step in business growth. We hope the next six months will see more Mancunians taking up the opportunity of free training.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The Google Digital Garage extending its stay in Manchester is a welcome boost to all who live in our city-region. Our ambition in Greater Manchester is to be a leading digital city-region and this announcement, alongside the fact that so many have already utilised the courses on offer, highlights how we are achieving our aims.

“The Digital Garage gives such a great opportunity for people to equip themselves with the skills and experience they need to work both now and in the jobs and industries of the future. The courses available here will continue to be invaluable to people across Greater Manchester.”

You can visit the Manchester Google Digital Garage here or learn more on the Google Digital Garage website here.


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