Google offers free digital training to all UK residents

After being criticised for not paying its fair share of British tax, Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit is trying to show it’s a good corporate citizen by offering five hours of free digital skills training to all UK residents. Google chief executive officer Sundar Pichai said Tuesday the company also will bring “virtual reality field trips” to 1 million British students and their teachers within the next year. “Our aim is to make sure that every individual and business in the UK has the support they need to make the most of online tools to innovate, compete and have fruitful careers in the digital age,” Pichai said in a statement referring to the digital training efforts. Google is offering face-to-face instruction in digital skills and personal mentoring in 100 cities and towns across the UK as well as online under its Digital Garage initiative, the company said. Under a previous version of the initiative, announced in March 2015, Google said it had trained and coached 250,000 people in 80 British municipalities. Pichai, who is on his first visit to the UK since being named Google’s CEO in August 2015, will also visit a school to highlight the new Google Expeditions virtual reality software. The program is open, free of charge, to any British school, Google said. It will allow virtual reality expeditions to museums and landmarks, as well as the potential to “travel back in time” to explore different historical eras, or visit outer space to see other planets. (Jeremy Kahn and Mark Bergen/Bloomberg)

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