Of the 15,000 participants in the second round of the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program, a good 5,000 completed the introductory course. In the follow-on courses, 800 of them earned a nanodegree certificate – an impressive rate given the Covid-19 pandemic. Bertelsmann sees the program as an investment in the future of its employees.
With its “Udacity Technology Scholarship Program,” marketed under the hashtag “#50000Chances,” Bertelsmann supports the development of important tech skills for the job market of the future; the third round of the scholarship program is currently underway. The second round ended recently. As in round one, after passing the “Challenge Course” selected participants had the opportunity to complete an advanced course ending in a nanodegree that is highly accredited in the industry. In the recently ended second round, Bertelsmann University had offered the three courses “Cloud Developer with Azure,” “Predictive Analytics for Business,” and “AI Product Manager.”
“Applicant numbers for the second round were high,” reports Laura Echterhoff, program officer at Bertelsmann University. “In all, more than 60,000 people from 187 countries applied for the 15,000 scholarships – including 2,300 Bertelsmann colleagues.” Of the 15,000 participants, a good 5,000 completed the introductory course. Echterhoff adds that the number of completions among the 1,600 Nanodegree candidates subsequently selected was also impressive. In total, some 800 students graduated with a Nanodegree – an impressive number, she said, given the particular challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Investment in the future of our employees’
The highest graduation rate was in the “AI Product Manager,” Nanodegree program, successfully completed by 56 percent of participants. The Nanodegree program “Predictive Analytics for Business” had a 53 percent completion rate, and 48 percent of the scholarship holders enrolled in the “Cloud Developer with Azure” program successfully earned their Nanodegree. Most of the graduates came from Germany (124), followed by India, Nigeria and the U.S. Overall, the graduates hailed from more than 83 countries.
The in-house Nanodegree completion rate among Bertelsmann employees in this round was also remarkable. At 58 percent, it was up another three percentage points on the previous year. “I am delighted that even more colleagues successfully completed the course with a Nanodegree this year. We see this initiative as an investment in the future of our employees,” declared Steven Moran, Chief Learning Officer at Bertelsmann. At the same time, it is also an important investment in Bertelsmann’s future, to help drive the digitization of our businesses and strengthen their leading role in their respective markets. Like other companies, we have noticed that there is a delta between existing tech skills and those needed in the future, known as a ‘skills gap,’” says Steven Moran. “An important step in closing this gap is to build these skills within the Group and offer prospects for colleagues to apply their newly learned skills in their current or a new role within the Group.
‘Promoting a digital and modern learning culture’
During the learning phase, the students were supported and accompanied by the divisions and the respective HR departments in various ways. The numerous measures taken included virtual networking meetings on the Udacity platform or in the “Tech & Data Community,” information events at Bertelsmann University, digital learning meetings among students and Q&A sessions with the respective HR departments, to giving participants a few days off for studying, and awards from their respective local company upon successful completion. “Our vision at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions is to be the most customer-focused and data/IT-driven international supply chain company – a goal that is substantially supported by the Udacity initiative,” reports Stefanie Rheker, Chief Human Resources Officer at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, for example. “The Tech Scholarship Program empowers our employees to continue their education in the areas of tech and data, regardless of whether they come into contact with these topics in their daily work environment. This helps us work together to promote a digital and modern learning culture and to advance our vision. Our ‘HR Learning & Development Team’ again created the conditions for the participants to exchange ideas and ask questions in their own ‘MS Teams’ group in this round. It’s great to see the dedication our employees bring to earning a Udacity Nanodegree.” (benet)