Google Invests €25m in Initiative to Tackle AI Skills Gap

With research showing that organisations continue to suffer a lack of AI skills, Google has pledged to invest €25m in closing the AI skills gap

The global technology skills gap continues to be one of the key challenges facing organisations today. According to research by digital infrastructure company Equinix, 62% of IT decision-makers globally view a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business.

And while AI is one of the main areas of focus for IT leaders today, research by corporate digital learning global leader Skillsoft has found that skills are still lacking, with 43% rating their teams’ AI and ML skills as ‘low’.

Now, Google – which has made a number of AI announcements recently, including the launch of its Gemini large language model – has pledged to invest €25m (US$26.9m) to develop AI skills in Europe, as the organisation continues to pursue the technology.

“We’re pursuing AI boldly and responsibly to ensure that everyone can benefit,” comments Matt Brittin, President of Google EMEA. “Innovation has always been a team sport, and AI is no exception. We’re committed to playing our part — working together with EU Governments, civil society, academics and businesses to find the right path to land this technology safely and for everyone.”

Google to help people and countries seize the AI opportunity

In launching the AI Opportunity Initiative for Europe, Google says the initiative will help provide training and skills to support people and countries to be successful in seizing the opportunity of AI.

The announcement follows the 2015 launch of “Grow with Google”: an initiative offering free training to help address the EU’s digital skills gap. In the years since, Google says it has trained over 12 million people across Europe in digital skills — in partnership with governments, small business associations, trade unions, NGOs and local communities. 

Google’s new AI Opportunity Initiative for Europe is built on that experience. Working in partnership with governments and local communities, the company says it will provide a range of foundational and advanced AI training to support vulnerable communities, startups and everyone.

As part of the announcement, Google says it will dedicate €10m to equipping workers with the skills they need to avoid being left behind.

Its AI Opportunity Fund: Europe, in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact, is seeking applications from social enterprises and nonprofits to help Google reach those people most likely to benefit from this training. Selected organisations will receive bespoke and facilitated training on foundational AI in local languages delivered directly to the workers in their communities.

“AI has enormous potential to transform the world for the better,” Adrian Brown, Executive Director, Centre for Public Impact said. “Yet research shows that the benefits of AI could exacerbate existing inequalities – especially in terms of economic security and employment. This new program will help people across Europe develop their knowledge, skills and confidence around AI, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

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