Facebook has announced that it will bring its Community Boost programme to European Union countries just months after it announced the U.S. launch. The programme aims to help European businesses adapt to the new digital climate by giving them an online presence and also gives average people a boost to their digital skills in order to better prepare them for today’s workplace.
Ciaran Quilty, VP of Small Businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Facebook, said:
“Small businesses are the heart of our economies and create the majority of new jobs all around the world. Through Community Boost EU, Facebook will work side by side with small businesses and startups to help them grow and hire. We’re building additional programs to help people with the skills and resources they need to get jobs or put their own ideas into action.”
Facebook is looking to open three new community skills hubs in Spain, Poland, and Italy. These will run in partnership with local organisations, offering training in digital skills, media literacy and online safety to underrepresented groups - including the elderly, refugees, and others that may find it difficult to get this training otherwise.
Aside from the hubs, Facebook will partner with Freeformers to train 300,000 people across the EU in the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Spain. Of those, 75,000 people will be trained in person while the rest will be trained online. The training will be person specific, so someone with strong skills will be taught how to code, while others may learn about online banking.
On the business front, in-person training will be given for 100,000 SMBs by 2020 and online training will be available for 250,000 businesses. In France, Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness programme will train more than 15,000 women with digital skills. The programme is already live in the UK and Italy, and will be rolled out to Ireland, Spain and Sweden in 2018.
Lastly, Facebook announced €10 million will be poured into France to accelerate AI innovation. The money will be used to increase Facebook AI Research Paris’ PhD fellows from 10 to 40, granting scholarships to students, and funding 10 servers as well as open datasets for French public institutions. The company’s team of researchers and engineers in France will also be doubled from 30 to 60.