Bridging The Skills Gap With Online Apprenticeships At OpenClassrooms

About a year ago, we had the bold idea of using online education as a global talent supply chain to train people on the job, and fill the skills gap in areas where businesses struggle to recruit, such as software development, data science, and the cloud.

Today, Capgemini, one of the world’s top IT service firms is hiring its first full cohort of Java developers to train on-the-job with OpenClassrooms — 100% online. Selected participants will get an employment contract and a salary from day one of the academic program and will have their tuition fees fully covered.

Over the next 18 months, participants of this online path will split their time between studying for their master’s degree online with OpenClassrooms, and working on client projects in Capgemini’s Paris and Toulouse offices in a turbo-loaded version of the traditional apprenticeship model.

What is apprenticeship?

On-the-job training has been combined with studying since the Middle Ages to prepare new generations of experts in all fields. The word apprenticeship comes from the Old French ‘aprentiz’ meaning ‘someone learning’ combined with the Anglian suffix ‘-scip’, meaning ‘state, condition of being.’ An apprenticeship is professional training on the job under an expert.

Apprenticeships differ from internships, in that they are longer-term, provide hands-on training, and offer higher pay.

How are online apprenticeships changing the scene?

As an online learning platform with degree-awarding powers, our ambition at OpenClassrooms is to re-invent the traditional apprenticeship model for the better, to provide an integrated, global talent supply chain.

What’s in it for employers?

Online apprenticeships are a cost-effective solution and an unlimited talent source for employers.

Unlike standard job applicants, online apprentices are trained according to the employer’s requirements, using course material tailored to company needs. Standard hands-on assignments can be replaced by real-life company projects that have an impact. Companies are also able to participate in mentoring, adding more context to the learning process.

With online apprenticeships, schedules are flexible: apprentices can study every Friday, two hours per day, or one week per month — whatever best suits the needs of the business.

The cost of online apprentices is lower than that of experienced candidates or graduates, as salaries are lower and there is no recruitment fee. Online education platforms offer customers the possibility of recruiting apprentices in numerous geographical locations, including overseas locations, at scale with their needs.

What about students?

Students who gain admission to an apprenticeship program do not pay tuition fees. On the contrary, they are a paid employee and receive a salary. By the time they obtain their state-accredited degree they will also have considerable professional experience.

The prospect of free, hands-on education, culminating in a degree and combined with paid employment is probably as good as it gets; currently only online education can offer this opportunity on a large scale.

Boosting the tech industry — and the society

With a number of apprenticeship cohorts coming up this year, OpenClassrooms is set to place hundreds of candidates in various tech jobs. Over the next 24 months, our plan is to grow this into thousands of apprenticeships, via our 50 online degree programs across the world.

Ultimately, our hope is that our new and innovative catalyst for employability will help employers recruit job-ready tech talent at scale, whilst offering students and people in professional retraining the employment opportunities and skills they need to succeed.

To follow the development of our offering and to stay up-to-date with new apprenticeships, go to or follow us on Twitter.