What is the Grande Ecole du Numérique?
A digital talents booster to sustain economic growth
An accreditation of excellence
The Grande École du Numérique (GEN) makes training for digital responsibilities readily available and easy to find by funding and endorsing courses across France. It aims to respond to the growing need for digital specialists by training those who have limited access to employment. According to reports, 1.3 million people in France are not in education, employment or training (NEET),* there are 100,000 dropouts* every year and there will be 190,000 vacant positions in the digital sector in France in 2022.**
The organisation provides seed funding for courses, certifies them with an accreditation of excellence and provides potential trainees with a catalogue of 500 training programmes across the country. All these programmes use approaches which enhance access and inclusion by using innovative pedagogy, partnerships and mentoring. They provide access to tomorrow’s careers in the digital economy, regardless of social, economic and academic background. There have been more than 18,000 trainees in the GEN network since 2016 and we have an 85% success rate: permanent or fixed-term employment contracts, ongoing training, etc.
Trainees on these training programmes must include:
A government-backed project
The Grande Ecole du Numérique was launched in 2015 by the French government. The GEN public interest group (GIP, Groupement d'Intérêt Public) comprises the Ministry for Higher Education, the Ministry for Labour, the Ministry for Youth Affairs and the Ministry of State for Digital Affairs, key stakeholders in vocational training (the French public employment agency Pôle emploi, skills development agencies, OPCOs) and some private companies (Capgemini, Société Générale and Orange).
We have 3 typologies of funding:
- The contribution from the government and private companies: €1.4 million per year used for the operating budget of the GIP
- Government funding (€15 million of government seed funding in 2015-2017 and €37 million in 2018) used to provide initial financing for new training programmes selected through calls for proposals, which are further subsidised by funding from regional government
- Training for jobseekers is funded by the government agency Pôle Emploi, with additional financial aid for decent living from the Ministry for Education (€5 million per year).
The courses developed with support from GEN (seed funding and accreditation via the GEN label) cover a very broad range of digital skills. Some of these have a direct relevance to manufacturing skills, such as IoT & Robotics, although it can be argued that all of the digital skills are likely to be applicable across most sectors of the economy, including manufacturing.
There are 500 certified courses with an average duration of seven months but can last up to three years. The courses cover 80 digital professions and GEN groups these into nine families:
- Network, infrastructure & security
- Maintenance & support
- Interface, graphics and creation
- Marketing & E-commerce
- Digital communication
- IoT & Robotics
- Management & Strategy
These courses were developed in response to Calls issued by GEN for new digital skills courses specifically designed for their target group of potential learners. As part of their submission (and subsequent assessment) the organisations responding to the call must detail how many people they intend to train, how they will deliver the training, how target learners will be recruited and how they will be supported into employment. Given that the support to be offered extends beyond the actual delivery of training to helping the learners gain employment, there is an incentive to ensure that there is a real need for the skills being developed.
Courses are delivered by a variety of training partners. 50% of training courses are exclusively face-to-face, 3% are exclusively online and the remainder have mixed learning including face-to-face and online. All GEN labelled courses are specifically designed to provide learning methodologies that are suitable for the target trainees.
A MOOC is provided (by the University of Lille) to offer training organisations tools and ideas to help them implement the most appropriate educational approaches.
* French Employment Policy Council (Conseil d’orientation pour l’emploi), 2017
** France Stratégie - Directorate for the Promotion of Research, Studies and Statistics (DARES), 2015