Tech giant Google has announced its $500m investment in the UK’s education sector, with the company set to employ nearly 2,000 people in a new £5bn building on the University of Surrey campus.
Google’s UK campus has become the site for the biggest investment in education in the country in more than a decade, with a planned 1,000 jobs.
Google said it was creating more than 5,000 new jobs and creating more opportunities for students, staff and communities.
It also announced that it would invest up to $500bn to make the UK a global leader in digital education, including its Google Cloud platform, its education partnerships with universities and colleges, and its new Google Learning Suite.
“The creation of the new Google Campus is the start of a new era for the UK and for our company, and we are confident that it will contribute to the UK being a world leader in the digital education sector,” said Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman and chief executive.
“We are committed to investing in the education sector for generations to come.”
Google is investing $5bn over four years in the construction of the Google Campus, which it has already said will provide the UK with an “industry-leading” technology hub for technology companies.
“Google has long supported and promoted our national and local education sector and we believe that the Google campus will provide a great platform for our young people to start their careers, while also creating jobs and investment opportunities for the local communities in which we operate,” said Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt.
“This investment will allow us to create a stronger future for our business and our communities, while improving our education systems and services in the long-term.”
The Google Campus will be the site of the UK-based firm’s first expansion since it acquired a 35% stake in Microsoft in 2016, making it the largest investment in tech companies by a British company since Amazon bought Whole Foods.
Microsoft announced last year that it had invested $5.3bn in Britain’s technology sector.
It is the latest tech company to commit to investing more than $1bn in the British economy, as a sign of how technology firms see opportunities in the nation’s future.
In December, Google confirmed that it was building a new office in the City of London, which will be home to more than 20,000 workers.
The company’s campus has long been considered one of the most important tech hubs in the world, and has been home to major technology companies including Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
It will be located in the city’s financial district, and will have up to 1,500 workers, and the biggest campus of any tech firm in the US.
Google has been criticised for being too slow to respond to the rise in immigration and rising inequality in Britain, with some analysts suggesting that it has not been adequately investing in its own workforce.
The investment comes amid growing fears over immigration, and is part of the company’s broader efforts to diversify its business and become more globally competitive.
In an attempt to attract talent, Google has expanded its UK workforce through hiring more students and offering them more opportunities to learn the skills of other jobs.
“For us, investing in education is an investment in our future, and one of our greatest opportunities in Britain,” said a Google spokesman.
“Over the next decade, the campus will become the world’s most important digital education hub.
As a leading technology company, Google is committed to building a world-class education and training infrastructure in the United Kingdom, to create more opportunities and to drive down barriers to higher education for everyone.”