We’ve entered a new learning environment in which life-long learning services are rising in popularity among individuals, companies, and governments. As jobs are rapidly changing, the need for re-skilling and re-filling our knowledge tanks is increasing. The traditional path of higher education is also changing and students are choosing new ways to prepare for the workforce.
A popular trend is the apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships have been around for a long time, but historically they were not tailored to modern jobs. In countries like Germany and Austria, apprenticeships are very prestigious but largely oriented to technical or mechanical jobs.
Meanwhile, in France and the U.K. apprenticeships are increasingly computer science oriented, aiming to prepare students for jobs that are in high demand. The governments are also stepping in and providing incentives — the French government currently pays companies €5–8k in grants per apprentice, while in the U.K. it’s £2K per apprentice. In the US, apprenticeships have been on the rise, although in relatively small numbers, and we expect that growth will continue at strong rates in the coming years.
The catalysts causing the changes in higher education are plenty; in the US, 70% of university students are working while in college, more than one in five students are parents, and 40% ultimately don’t graduate. Meanwhile, student debt is skyrocketing at $1.5 Trillion, or $35K per student on average. Some 35% of US high-school graduates don’t even continue to attend a university, while in the U.K. it is 50% and in France it is 55%. Meanwhile, it is estimated that 70% of the jobs of 2030 don’t exist today…
As a result, we are starting to see momentum among apprenticeship facilitators. Companies like OpenClassrooms or Multiverse (formerly Whitehat) are experiencing rising demand for the matchmaking of students with apprenticeships at employers.
Major tech companies are now partnering with the likes of OpenClassrooms, Multiverse and others, effectively providing the “curriculum” in high demand areas such as Data Science, Digital Marketing, etc. For example, Multiverse students can do 18 months in digital marketing with Google, or OpenClassrooms students can choose a 2-year AI program with Microsoft. In either case, students will be likely well prepared for their careers and will not accumulate large amounts of debt.
Last week, Multiverse announced it raised a $44 million Series B that values the startup at $200M (according to FT), from a group of VCs including General Catalyst, Index, Lightspeed, Google Ventures. The 4-year old startup is founded by Euan Blair, son of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and counts over 300 clients in Europe, including Facebook, Morgan Stanley, KPMG. In 2020, Multiverse tripled its number of apprentices to more than 2,000.
Increasingly, academic achievement does not necessarily correlate with future professional success, while motivation and determination are proving to have a much higher correlation. Therefore, apprenticeships are gaining increasing popularity among employers who can choose and pick those candidates who display all those qualities.
One of the big reason students go to college is the on-campus experience. But as learning outcomes and job readiness are increasingly disappointing, some are starting to question the value of a $100K price tag. Is that the price for just the swag and the parties? Now, companies like Multiverse are starting to add some of those experience components as part of the apprenticeship programs.