Summary

Details

Description

The program, lasting from 4 to 6 weeks, is aimed at women from 18 to 50 years old, mainly residents of low-income neighborhoods and rural areas, and women unemployed and/or without training. It aims at deconstructing mechanisms of self-censorship, digital illiteracy and lack of self-confidence.

Simplon.co is a social business that empowers and trains unemployed people to highly demanded tech jobs through tuition-free coding bootcamps. Priority is given to people from disadvantaged areas/underprivileged backgrounds and to women, under-represented in the tech industry.

Simplon.co has implemented 37 training centers in France and 6 abroad, including in Europe in Belgium, Spain and Italy. Since its creation, over 2600 trainees have benefited from Simplon’s bootcamps. Simplon has a strong commitment to parity between women and men: we seek for all trainings to be comprised of 50% women. Currently 35% of all trainees are women, whereas they are only 24% on average in digital trainings in France. Simplon has 77% positive outcomes at 6 months, with trainees finding a job or pursuing more training. In order to achieve these positive outcomes, we work in partnership with companies to ensure positive professional integration after the trainings.

One axis of Simplon’s development specifically addresses concerns of the European Union. Since 2015, Simplon has implemented the program Refugeeks, a certified, intensive web development training for refugees. The program has already been supported by the EU and cited as a good practice initiative within the framework of the Digital Single Market strategy led by the European Commission:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIvaNa6hYpM

Simplon.co is also a leader in the project «EUnited We Code» as part of Erasmus+, which aims at creating a European partnership based on Simplon’s learning model of digital training with our European partners Factoria F5, Be.Code, ETIC and PLS. We are developing another project at the European level, NewTalents4EU, within the framework of the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund for the digital training of 80 refugees.

Simplon.co is also a leader in the project «EUnited We Code» as part of Erasmus+, which aims at creating a European partnership based on Simplon’s learning model of digital training with our European partners Factoria F5, Be.Code, ETIC and PLS. We are developing another project at the European level, NewTalents4EU, within the framework of the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund for the digital training of 80 refugees.

In 2017, the digital sector was only 33% female and this was mainly in so-called "support" functions such as human resources, administration, marketing or communication. In addition to being deeply unfair, this situation is also illogical, as studies show that mixed gender teams perform 16% better than single sex team in the digital sector. Studies also show that 9 billion euros per year would be added to the European GDP if women held as many jobs as men in tech. Aware of this reality, Simplon has developed programs focused on the inclusion of women in the tech sector for several years. Convinced that technology can be a powerful lever for social and professional integration, we therefore seek to increase inclusivity and respond to the needs of populations in situations of exclusion or discrimination, including women. After having carried out many actions in favor of improving the position of women in the digital world, Simplon now wants to expand its actions to increase gender equality and women’s empowerment. With this in mind, we have launched the program #Hackeuses, our global strategy for combating sexism and increasing women’s representation in the tech sector. #Hackeuses! is a digital acculturation program dedicated to women to support them in the construction of a professional project in the digital sector. The program, lasting from 4 to 6 weeks, is aimed at women from 18 to 50 years old, mainly residents of low-income neighborhoods and rural areas, and women unemployed and/or without training. It aims at deconstructing mechanisms of self-censorship, digital illiteracy and lack of self-confidence.

The program includes theoretical classes, discussions, group workshops etc. and tackles different aspects of the digital sector including web development, robotics and personal data. The objectives of the program are to lead participants to integrate further long-term trainings as well as positive professional integration through talks led by female role models and company visits. Simplon provides strong social support during the trainings, adapted to the need of our trainees. In addition to the lead trainer, an assistant trainer and a person in charge of employment mediation for individualized follows-up for each trainee supervise our trainings. A session of #Hackeuses! costs 60K€ for 20 to 24 women. This budget includes training costs (conception of the material, trainers, follow-up, guest speakers), coordination charges, equipment, location, transport and administrative fees.

After a pilot in 2016, we are replicating #Hackeuses!: 2 courses were scheduled in 2018, and we aim to set up nearly 10 more courses in 2019 throughout Simplon’s network. A replication of the program is in progress in all 37 training centers, supported by the use of a deployment toolkit applicable to all centers. Partners for the sourcing include nonprofits, local structures for employment & local medias, who direct unemployed women interested in the digital sector toward the courses.

#Hackeuses! forms part of the Sectoral Plan for Mixity in the Digital Sector, initiated by the government.

Success factors

Hackeuses! is a pre-qualifying cycle designed to explore the opportunities offered by digital careers and encourage women who participate to continue with a professional training in the sector. On the first cycle, the results on the process of acculturation to the digital world and the introduction to coding were very positive, and allowed the participants to understand the functioning of the the digital sector. At Simplon.co, we are strongly dedicated to measure the impact: we have an Impact Officer whose role is to track, thanks to an adapted software, the impact of our program. Impact can be measured quantitatively by the the number of beneficiaries applying to our coding bootcamps or other trainings in the digital sector. The first cycle in November-December 2016 was a success : 70% of the participants applied to long trainings afterwards, whereas there were only 25% who considered applying before taking part in #Hackeuses!. An evaluation with personal interviews and a questionnaire at the end of the cycle allows us to measure the qualitative impact of the program and guide the participants towards tuition-free coding bootcamps at Simplon.co. In addition, the rate of positive exits (return to employment, training, auto-entrepreneurship) is measured at 3, 6 and 12 months after the training to evaluate long-term impact and ensure professional integration.

The program is unique as it targets women only and aims to prepare and empower them so that they feel confident enough to apply to vocational trainings in digital tech jobs. There are several key factors that explain the success of the program:

  • The program is reserved for women in order to tackle their specific needs and to create a safe environment where they can feel legitimate.
  • We organise pitches and presentations by female role models, such as successful entrepreneurs of the tech industry and female web developers, to whom the beneficiaries can identify themselves so that they become aware of their legitimacy to have interest in the digital sector and to work in the tech industry.
  • The course is not only based on technical skills, but also on soft skills: there is a strong focus on empowerment, self-confidence, public speaking, etc.
  • The timing of the course is also important: the #Hackeuses! preparation courses are scheduled before the beginning of Simplon’s coding bootcamps, so that beneficiaries can start a training after the #Hackeuses! course if they are interested.
  • Simplon provides social and professional support to encourage professional integration: training sessions are designed in partnership with companies such as “Leboncoin”, and trainees are accompanied individually by a person in charge of employment mediation.

A replication of the program is in progress in all 37 training centers of Simplon, supported by the use of a deployment toolkit that includes all the teaching material applicable to all centers. We work on replicating the program not only in different regions in France, but also throughout Europe and the world (for example in Dakar, Senegal). As Simplon already has experience with replicating programs in France and abroad, our process is to be flexible and adapt the process to the trainees (age, previous job or training) and the host country (culture, labour market).

Organization details

Name of the organization
Simplon.co
Website of the organization
Contact person
Marie Houdin
Contact email