Google has launched a host of online tools intended to help people and businesses “digitise and grow” through digital skills.

In a statement from Matt Brittin, president of Google EMEA, the company has pledged to support 10 million people and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

According to the Institute for Employment Studies, between 1.5m and 2m jobs could be lost in the UK, as well as those already furloughed, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this context, many are looking to digital skills to improve their employability, with research by the Good Things Foundation highlighting that out of the top five skills that furloughed workers are focusing on, three relate to technology.

Google will pay for 100,000 people to take the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed to prepare them for a career in IT. Fifty thousand of these places are reserved for people who otherwise face real barriers to learning, such as language, caring responsibilities or financial difficulty.

The tech giant will also roll out its job search tool to more countries in EMEA, and is testing new features such as allowing users to specify remote working jobs.

In addition, it will provide $15m in grants to help workers and small business owners access digital skills and access to jobs.

Businesses will also benefit from tools designed to help them connect with customers, such as Google My Business, Grow My Store, Market Finder tool, and will help them in moving to new business models such as “pick-up, delivery, and online classes and appointments”.

Google is also launching a new tool that shares insights into popular retail categories and what people are searching for.

For the travel industry, it is partnering with the UN World Tourism Organisation on training for tourism officials across Europe, the Middle East and Africa understand and digital tools.

It is also launching its AI for business tool for small and medium businesses in Europe, providing personalised recommendations for how to use AI.

“We remain fundamentally optimistic about the future, and about the role technology can play, and we’re working with governments to help people, businesses and communities,” Brittin said.

“Online tools, which have been a lifeline for many of us in lockdown, are now helping people find jobs and learn in-demand skills. If we work together, technology can be a lifeline for everyone as Europe, the Middle East and Africa look ahead to a sustainable recovery for everyone.”

Read more: Google returns to smart glasses with North acquisition.

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