I recently got to spend an absolutely incredible week being inducted as a Google Digital Garage trainer. At Google's head office in St Pancras Square in London.
It was quite a surreal moment walking into the front doors. It was only a few months previously I stood outside with my son and we both talked about how cool it would be to have a look round.
Google Digital Garage Coach
I was there to be inducted to deliver Google Digital Garage Training courses. A project providing free digital skills training across the United Kingdom. It is a Google project that is managed by Upskill Digital a digital skills training company based in London.
Courses on offer include:
- Writing a CV
- Presentations for work
- Building a personal brand
- Writing for Social Media
- Know your business with data
- Introduction to Digital Marketing
- Keeping your family safe online
And many others.
Welcome to a Google Wonderland
After going through registration and getting our passes we were escorted to our training room on the second floor. Then the 13 eager inductees were taken straight up to the top floor of the Google building. The journey up in the glass lift was reminiscent of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. We whizzed past different workspaces, a free gym, the hydration centre and the games room. Of particular note was the post-it note art plastered to the windows. It was a wonderland.
Once on the 11th floor, we spent the next 20 minutes just marvelling at the incredible view across London. From this vantage point, you could see the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Canary Wharf, the Shard, St Paul's Cathedral and the BT tower. London never fails to amaze me with just how diverse and incredible the architecture is. London is without a doubt one of the most incredible cities in the world.
Google's Cunning Plan
The meeting rooms we were all themed around different television shows. We were in the ‘I have a cunning plan’ training room. There was a picture of Baldrick from the second series of Black Adder on the door as we went in. And Google Digital Garage is indeed a very cunning plan, but not in the same way as Baldrick's disasters.
On the first day, the presentations were run mainly by Google. We received the history of the program ‘Grow with Google’, that Google has developed to bridge the digital skills gap in the United Kingdom. Currently, 95% of jobs require basic digital skills and there are 12.6 million people in the UK who lack these basic skills. Digital Garage is designed to provide free training to as many people as possible so they can gain digital skills.
Anyone can attend the Digital Garage tour bus, Digital Garage seminars and Google Hubs, which are currently based in Manchester and Edinburgh. I really was amazed by the passion that Google has for this project. All courses are free to attend and delivering courses for partners is also free. It was evident that despite their global presence, Google does have an appreciation of the needs of people in local areas and of individuals. It was incredibly inspiring.
I am Remarkable
The first day closed with one of Google’s training courses, it’s not part of Digital Garage, but important nonetheless. ‘I am Remarkable’ is a 90-minute workshop that was designed specifically to help women perform better in job roles. Studies have found that women are less likely to promote themselves at work than men and therefore often miss out on promotional opportunities. The training is designed to help women understand that self-promotion is a good thing and it’s not bragging. Also, that a diverse workforce is massively beneficial throughout the United Kingdom.
However, over the last few years, it has become increasingly evident, that ‘I am Remarkable’ is just as applicable to men as it is to women and other underrepresented groups. There were plenty of discussions and in a couple of cases some tears as we discussed what made us remarkable. This is an absolutely incredible course and I can't wait to deliver it.
Digital Garage Courses
Tuesday to Thursday was spent going through the training courses we are going to present. Familiarising ourselves with the content and presenting back elements to the group for discussion and support. CV writing to personal branding; through to presentations for work and advertising online. It is a very comprehensive portfolio of support. Our varied backgrounds in training, coaching, management and marketing made for a very collaborative process.
Food Googley Food
The one thing that I have to talk about and spend pretty much an entire paragraph on, is the subject of food. Google head office in St Pancras has 4 restaurants, all of the food in the restaurants is 5 star and most importantly completely free. The most stressful moment of my entire week was at lunchtime on Monday when I went to the restaurant on the first floor and was surrounded by so much food I couldn't even think straight. Did I have pizza, did I have Mexican, did I have Chinese, did I take advantage of the grill bar or the rainbow beauty of the salad bar. We visited a different restaurant each day and the quality of the food was out of this world!
Passion for Learning
What impressed me most during the week was the atmosphere within the building itself. We didn't necessarily get to see an awful lot of the building, but the staff all seems so engaged and there was such positive energy there. I was also impressed that Google is putting on these courses, not as an exercise in self-promotion but with a genuine desire to help people develop their digital profile and make a significant difference in their lives and businesses.
Here are some Google terms you may not be familiar with:
Googley: Anyone can be ‘Googley’ this is a positive attitude and energy that epitomises people that represent Google.
A Googler is someone who works directly for Google. Currently, as much as I can be Googley I can’t be a Googler (well until they offer me a job anyway).
The most important is a ‘Doogler’, which is a Google dog, they have their own Instagram page!
A Passions for Digital Skills
On Friday we got to meet another 30 existing coaches who are representing Google Digital Garage through UpSkill Digital. All of whom have the same passion for helping people through this Incredible tool we call the internet.
Google Digital Garage Seminars
If you think that your organisation would benefit from a visit from the bus or a seminar please get in touch with UpSkill Digital, they would love to hear from you.
As for me? I am off to work hard on being Googley, you never know I may one day become a Googler with a Doogler.