Google and Bertelsmann have launched a new digital skills program which will offer 10,000 scholarships for Android developers in the European Union.
The so-called "digital divide," the separation between those who have access to computers and the Internet and those that do not without difficulty, is estimated to cost the UK alone £63 billion a year in lost economic revenue.
With the European parliament predicting that 90 percent of jobs across the coalition will require digital skills by 2020 and because of a lack of skills almost a million IT jobs will remain vacant by the same year, something has to be done to better equip the workforce for the changing business landscape.
Google, alongside global media and education company Bertelsmann and e-learning platform Udacity, hope to be part of the change.
On Monday, the companies announced plans for the funding of 10,000 Android Developer training scholarships across the EU.
In total, Google will fund 9,000 scholarships for a course in the basics of Android app development, whereas more experienced programmers are invited to apply for one of 1,000 scholarships for the Associate Android Developer Fast Track, which leads to Android developer certification, a recognized qualification in the industry.
The tech giant says that at the same time, Bertelsmann will improve skill-building and training budgets for staff at roughly 1,000 businesses the company owns to improve IT training.
From 2017, every qualified apprentice, student, and trainee at Bertelsmann will be offered a Udacity Nanodegree scholarship.
"By getting together with Bertelsmann and Udacity we aim to close the mobile digital skills gap, and help people to get the in-demand skills needed to get a job or advance their career," Google says. "These scholarships are a chance for all aspiring mobile developers to make the most of the opportunity by mastering accredited digital skills that will put them on the path to success."