Salesforce has opened its first AI centre, welcoming more than a hundred developers and administrators to a free AI training event in London.

The opening was attended by leading UK business and industry figures including Howard Dawber, the Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Growth, and Janet Coyle CBE, managing director of Grow London at London & Partners.

Salesforce, whose decision to locate its first AI centre in London was hailed as a vote of confidence in the UK AI economy, is using the grand opening to highlight and take action on the critical digital skills gap in the UK.

The value of the UK AI market is predicted to grow from $21 billion to more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. But the UK is facing a digital skills crisis that could impede this growth — Salesforce research shows that although over a third of UK workers are using or planning to use generative AI at work, the majority (62%) lack the skills to do so effectively and safely. 

The AI Now Tour, the first in an ongoing series of similar events, equips Salesforce developers and administrators from across industries with the skills they need to build the future of generative AI applications. This free-to-attend event also supports the company’s commitment to train 100,000 developers worldwide.

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“We are thrilled to open the doors to the Salesforce UK AI Center today, welcoming developers from across the industry to join us for a free intensive full-day workshop on building the future of generative AI applications,” said Paul O’Sullivan, head of Salesforce UK AI Center and UK&I CTO. 

“This will be the first in an ongoing program of skills sessions, all designed to help close the UK’s AI skills gap.”

Dawber said: “The new Salesforce UK AI Center will play an important part in ensuring London continues to be a leader in AI innovation, and a centre for global collaboration. 

“We must continue to provide our workforce with the right skills so they can implement AI responsibly and effectively, boosting our economy as we build a better and fairer London for everyone.”

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