The Grande Ecole du Numérique (GEN) is a Public interest Group made up of the French State and three companies: Caisse des Dépôts, Société Générale, Orange.
In France, it aims to:
- respond to the growing need for digital specialists
- contribute to social cohesion by promoting the training and professional integration of people who have limited access to employment, in particular young people, women and residents of priority urban areas or rural areas.
To meet these two challenges, four axes structure its missions:
- a powerful search engine to make the offer of digital training more visible: you can access a catalogue of more than 15,000 training courses in the digital professions.
- GEN SCAN, an observatory to follow the development of the digital training offer, to put it into the perspective of the skills sought by companies in the different regions in order to identify levers of action to reduce the shortage of talent in the territories.
- the GEN Label, an accreditation of excellence given to some digital programmes. 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.
- an Innovation call for projects to select and seed funds for innovative projects in the field of recruitment, pedagogy, support and professional integration for our learners.
The organisation certifies the courses with an accreditation of excellence and provides potential trainees with a catalogue of hundreds of 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.
Our key figures :
- 8 months of training on average
- 39 233 learners since 2016
- 74% of positive outcomes after the training
In 2021, these training programmes included:
An accreditation of excellence
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 hundreds of certified courses with an average duration of eight months but can last up to three years. These are delivered by a range of organisations including private sector training providers, not-for profit organisations and universities. The courses cover 50 digital professions and GEN groups these into seven families:
- Network, maintenance and telecoms infrastructure
- Cybersecurity and cloud
- Data, AI and IoT
- Interface, graphics and design
- Digital communication, marketing and e-commerce
- Management and 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.
All training courses offered have a GEN label which means they have been through an accreditation process and this provides value to learners. There are a variety of levels of certification available via a wide range of providers. Some of the GEN labelled courses can result in a Diploma (at Associate, Bachelor’s or Master’s level) recognised by the French State. Some universities (e.g. the School of Engineering at the University of Marseille) offer GEN labelled courses that result in a diploma from the university.
Courses are delivered by a variety of training partners. Half 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.
GEN SCAN : the observatory of digital skill needs
In 2020 and 2021, we set up an observatory of digital skill needs that ranks in the Top 15 most wanted digital jobs in France and in each region. This gives us a regional view of the ecosystem. In 2022, this observatory – called GEN SCAN – will go further. The objective is to keep track of the development of the digital training offer, to put it into the perspective of the skills sought by companies in the different regions in order to identify levers of action to reduce the shortage of talent in the territories.
The trends that we observe:
- The Top 15 most wanted digital jobs : The top 3 (i.e. Full stack-developer, DevOps and Digital Business Developer) are not changing a lot, except for DevOps which has moved from 3rd to 2nd position with the greatest evolution.
- Digital skill needs are still important and there is not enough training to meet these needs; recruitment is therefore difficult.
There has been a strong evolution in the digital sector, but regional disparities exist. There are several explanations for this:
- France is still a very centralized country. Most of the digital training courses and job offers are in the Paris area, but we can see that other regions have more and more facilities to attract digital companies: the North of France around Lille, the South-east region around Nice, but also Lyon. We can spot some emerging cities and regions: Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nantes…
- Some regions succeed in training enough people thanks to their training and reskilling policies and their recruitment strategy.
- Some regions may experience some delay in their digital transition, but they are making an effort to address this delay in the medium term.
A MOOC is provided by the University of Lille and the Grande Ecole du Numérique to offer training organisations tools and ideas to help them implement the most appropriate educational approaches.
We also co-created a MOOC with Social Builder for training organizations to share best practices to attract and retain more women in digital training. Indeed, women are under-represented in the digital sector: they represent 30% of employees in this sector, all professions combined, and the figures are not improving. The goal of the GEN is to train at least 30% of women in its accredited courses, and for that we work on breaking down stereotypes:
- By providing information about digital careers
- By sharing testimonies (videos, podcasts) of women who work in the digital sector
Our third MOOC co-created with the Pôle Léonard de Vinci, how to use active pedagogies to increase students' engagement.
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, and some private companies (Groupe Caisse des dépôts, Société Générale and Orange).
The Governance :
The Steering commitee includes key stakeholders in vocational training (the French public employment agency Pôle emploi, skills development agencies, OPCOs)
The Steering commitee :
Digital Dictionary: Discover the digital world from technological and societal perspectives
Digital age, Digital society, Digital civilization: many expressions are used to describe the major cultural transformation of our contemporary societies. Digital Dictionary presents the multiple facets of this phenomenon, which was born of computers and continues to permeate all human activity as it progresses at a rapid pace. Samia Ghozlane, general director of the Grande Ecole du Numérique, contributed to it with two articles Diversity and Training.
© ISTE & Wiley
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