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January 22, 2018

Facebook digital skills hubs to open across Europe

Facebook envisions the hubs will improve digital skills and help reduce unemployment across Europe.

By April Slattery

Three new training centres will be opened across Europe over the next two years in a push by Facebook to boost digital skills in communities.

Facebook will open the three ‘community skills hubs’ across Spain, Italy and Poland, with the aim of increasing the level of digital skills to over one million people and business owners through various training programmes by 2020. In doing so it hopes to enable developers and start-ups to build better products and businesses in the future.

Training within the hubs will cover digital skills, media literacy and online safety, as well as in-person training for 100,000SMBs. The hubs are also aimed at citizens who have limited access to technology, including elderly people and refugees. In addition to the physical hubs, Facebook will provide online training for approximately 250,000 businesses by 2020.

Facebook digital skills hubs to open across Europe

The hubs will give individuals training in safety, digital learning and businesses’ future.

The training curriculum covers topics from how to build an effective business plan to how to build, protect and grow a new business. Key aspects that come with setting up a company such as idea protection, regulations, business planning and funding will be included in the training plans.

“People are worried that the digital revolution is leaving people behind and we want to make sure that we’re investing in digital skills to get people the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told Reuters.

In addition to opening the community training hubs, the US Company has invested €10m into building an artificial intelligence (AI) centre in France with the hope of optimising the country’s technology sector. Building the new centre aims to double the number of AI scientists in the research base and increase funding for PhD candidates.

Opening the centres across Europe will help boost the Europeans’ digital skills and reduce the number of people unemployed, giving Europe the ability to create its own digital footprint.

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Digital skills on the radar for growth in the UK too

Facebook’s hub launch comes after months of regulatory scandals left the social media giant under fire over issues such as user privacy and antitrust models. In addition to the individual pressure, Facebook’s new initiative comes after the EU plans to raise the tax bill of tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook itself have been accused of re-routing EU profits to countries such as Ireland to reduce their tax bills.

The digital training centres were first launched in India last year. Similar centres have also been opened in Nigeria and Brazil.

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