BBC Look North Interviews Dr Adam Beaumont
Internet giant Google launched a new digital training centre in the heart of Leeds on Friday 13th March. The Digital Garage is a multi-million pound programme, whose purpose is to provide digital skills for 200,000 local SME’s and help them improve their online presence. BBC Look North interviewed Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of aql, on the impact of the Google Digital Garage for local businesses and the importance for the City of Leeds.
Adam commented on the impact for the Leeds digital employment market: “It is exciting for Leeds, we have been trying to champion Leeds as a digital centre for the North for the last decade and over the last five years it has accelerated at a rapid pace, to the point where, we as a data centre operator, now house IXLeeds, the Internet Exchange for the region, that looks out for most of the traffic in the North. What is most exciting for us, as a Yorkshire and Leeds employer, is that this is going to really focus job seekers and encourage employment within the Internet industry to actually gravitate to Leeds.”
As a Governor for Leeds City College, Adam also highlighted the new opportunities that will arise for Leeds students: “The one thing that I always get from talking to the students at the College is that they always say: How do I get a job at the social network, how do I get a job at Google? Having Google in the city is one step closer, it something they can touch and reach out to.” When asked about Google’s free digital training for 25,000 teachers, aql’s CEO talked about the importance of computing skills for the University programme: “Training teachers is really important, computing has now been mandated in the curriculum, so there are a lot of teachers who may not be computing teachers, but have suddenly found that it has become part of what they need to do. So having an organisation like Google being able to help with that is important…”
Adam also met with Eileen Naughton, Google’s UK & Ireland Managing Director and VP at the launch event last Friday, at vibrant Leeds Dock. Naughton talked about the importance for local business to be discovered digitally: “While the majority of UK small businesses recognise the importance of having a website and using basic digital tools, less than 30 percent of SMEs have an effective online presence. We want to help jumpstart the other 70 percent.”
This is not aql’s first work with Google representatives in Leeds. Last year, the company hosted a Google Juice Bar event for local SMEs at the Salem Church, aql’s HQ and conference venue for numerous national and international industry events.
aql aims to put Leeds on the “Internet map”, contribute to the development of local businesses throughout telecommunications, and help the city become an autonomous digital centre.