The business of last mile training (upskilling & reskilling) | Gordon McRae (General Assembly, Multiverse)
Understanding tech bootcamps, apprenticeships, and hire-train-deploy programs.
👋 Hi I’m Akis from EduRM where I share growth insights for education and learning providers. Subscribe here:
In this episode, I interviewed Gordon McRae, ex-Head of Learning at General Assembly and Multiverse, co-founder of UX Collective, edtech advisor, and an absolute expert in bootcamps, apprenticeships, and last-mile training providers. He also writes the best newsletter I’ve found in this space: The View.
What you’ll learn
The market size and types of providers.
The key players across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and APAC.
The merger & acquisition trends in this niche.
Where the opportunities for growth are.
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💎 What are last-mile training providers
They emerged in the last 10 years or so, and they are a bridge between university and employment. They also act as an alternative to university, and their sole focus is getting someone a job at the end of the program.
Bootcamps: 8-12 week programs that teach typically (but not exclusively) digital skills such as web development/coding, data analysis, cyber security, and other similar programs.
Apprenticeships: On-the-job training programs funded either through related government grants or by employers themselves via the related levy funds.
Hire-train-deploy: Training groups of people in specific skills and then contracting those learners out to employers for a fixed period of time such as 2-3 years. Depending on the nature of the relationship with employers, these organizations may train (re-skill/upskill) also the existing employees of their employer partners.
☁️ What do they offer
Gordon shared in his newsletter the following table which summarizes the types of programs that are offered by the different providers:
🏷️ Who are the learner profiles
Career changers: 25-45yo who have worked for 2-10 yrs in some industry and are looking to shift to a digital/tech career.
School leavers: Just graduated from university, choosing to do a bootcamp instead of a master’s or Ph.D. program as a fast track into employment.
Upskilling: Entrepreneurs or professionals that need to upskill themselves in order to launch a digital/tech team or a project where they need to understand what’s happening.
🤝 Who is paying for the programs
For most of the last decade the bootcamp market grew through self-pay, so individuals pay for a program themselves. This model is coming to an end or will evolve into something else in the US/Europe as the market has matured. During the same period hire-train-deploy providers, generated revenue by contracting leaners to companies, and bootcamps are now looking at B2B as well for growth.
Revature: “Get paid to train. No exit fees. No commitment bond.”
FDM Group: The following shows the typical hire-train-deploy flow.
💰 What’s the market size
There is limited data and most of the available data is focused on the ~600 bootcamp providers that various reports are tracking. The bootcamp market is estimated at $500m - $750m globally in Q1 2023, but forecasts vary depending on which forward-looking report you check.
Technavio Coding Bootcamp Market Forecast: Expected to reach $1.2B in 2026
🏁 Who are the key bootcamp players
💡 I'm linking to their Linkedin company pages so you can check team size and funding (if any).
US players (most are the global leaders):
🇺🇸 Bloom Institute of Technology (ex-Lambda School)
🇺🇸 Coding Dojo
🇺🇦 GIOS (Global Innovative Online School) (Math/Kids)
🇫🇷 Le Wagon
🇫🇷 COLORI (Kids)
🇬🇧 Encode Club (Web3)
🇬🇧 MEL Science (Seince/Kids)
🇩🇪 codary | We're hiring! (Kids)
🇩🇪 Maphi (Math/Kids)
🇳🇱 Growth Tribe
🇳🇱 JetLearn (Kids)
🇵🇱 Skriware (Kids)
Non-for profit players
🇪🇺 MigraCode Europe groups 9 non-profit bootcamps that focus on supporting and educating vulnerable groups such as refugees and migrants.
Find more players
💡 Mergers & acquisitions so far
According to CourseReport, 33 acquisitions between Jun. 2014 and Aug. 2022. Here is a snapshot showcasing some of the most notable ones:
🔮 Challenges and where to look for growth
💡 Click to watch the relevant part of the conversation with Gordon.
(11:32) Build B2B employer relationships and use recruitment fees
(12:53) Leverage government funding through the apprenticeship levy
(13:16) Research new topic areas beyond software development, analytics, etc.
(15:37) Finding the right instructors for unlocking growth
(17:49) Revenue-sharing with universities (Trilogy, 2U, HyperionDev, and FourthRev)
(20:36) Create products for new untapped audiences that fit the bootcamp model
(23:17) Moving from offering just “literacy” products to “mastery” products
(26:11) Where to find data on current employer needs (Local hiring, Reports)
(30:51) Overview of trends that will impact growth in this space
(32:22) Key areas of growth from the Burning Glass Report (Link to the report)
(33:30) APAC, LATAM, and Africa are massive growth areas (Kibo School)
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See you at the next one,