usiness partnerships can significantly help a company to grow. At the very least, they can bridge the expertise gap and open the door to significant opportunities.
Yet, how can a bootcamp academy benefit from the partnership with a business or academic actor?
The answer lies in the market change and the employer needs that affect the bootcamp demand, competition, and learning lifecycle.
In this article, EducateMe discusses how such a partnership can help an online academy to place bootcamp graduates, grow the business, and be ahead of other learning providers.
How do market expectations affect bootcamps development?
To start with, the recent development of the tech market proves a growing need for candidates with an adequate set of skills and knowledge.
What does it mean for bootcamp graduates and learning providers using bootcamp platforms?
That up- and re-skilling will be in great demand, primarily due to certain markets being hit and experiencing downturns. Tech businesses would have to either first hire candidates and then train candidates or resort to people with job-ready skills.
Therefore, the bootcamp providers become significant players, connecting businesses and the potential workforce. The bootcamp stats from the Holoniq report only support this fact — the tech bootcamps will up-skill and re-skill 380,000 people by 2025.
We can as well look at the bootcamp graduates' situation.
Subject to Career Karma's 2023 Bootcamp Market Report, the number of bootcamp graduates each year only grows, creating higher competition for the bootcamp academies.
That's where the concept of partnerships becomes vital for the bootcamp growth.
The reason is simple: a bootcamp as a mediator between the workforce and employers will largely depend on the relationships they have with one another.
Role of partnerships for the future of the bootcamp business
Partnerships between bootcamp academies and business or academic actors significantly affect career opportunities and the bootcamp graduates’ placement rates. That way, the academy owners can contribute to the appeal of the bootcamps, develop at fixed rates, and support lifelong learning.
What partnerships are usually about:
- Enlarging career service and employer network. The tighter collaboration with employers and corporate actors means that bootcamps can understand employers’ needs, create joint programs or training, and offer students with necessary skills.
- Academic or industry-university collaboration. The partnership with colleges and universities provides better access to the future workforce, allows teaching necessary job skills, and grants the credibility and certification the bootcamps may lack.
In this regard, the Holberton School case is pretty illustrative, showing an extremely high percentage of students who graduated in recent years. Here is what they did:
Holberton School turned from a coding bootcamp into an ed-tech SaaS company by partnering with local businesses and institutions worldwide. According to Sylvia Klache, the company co-founder, they decided to “work with amazing local partners who operate the campuses and deeply understand their markets’ unique needs” That way, they offered an improved curriculum to prepare alumni that would perfectly fit the local partners’ strategies.
Benefits of partnerships with corporate actors
As the case illustrates, the partnerships build strong relationships with the companies and enterprises to be used for the bootcamp’s career service. However, it is not the only reward.
The main benefits of partnerships with corporate and business actors are concerned with:
- Offering larger opportunities for bootcamp graduates
- Elevating credibility and student attraction
- Aligning curriculum with industry needs
- Supporting lifelong learning
Let’s consider each of them in more detail:
1. Offering larger opportunities for bootcamp graduates
The first and most crucial partnership reward is the improved job opportunities for bootcamp graduates.
Partnerships allow bootcamps to organize apprenticeships, internships, and training on the partners’ premises. For students, it is a possibility to work on real cases, see what is expected from them in the future, and put the mark within their resume.
That way, the agreement to hold such practice makes the academy or school more appealing to students.
Another benefit of partnerships lies in the connections through which bootcamps get access to professional networks, programs, and platforms.
General Assembly had an agreement with Hired, the platform for talent sourcing, in 2019 to help their graduates to get better exposure. Bootcamps can establish connections with hiring platforms to develop, contribute to, and use the business communities.
2. Aligning curriculum with industry needs
As the markets change, the bootcamps should be adaptive and flexible, answering the new challenges. And, collaborating with business actors allows for providing up-to-date materials, inviting industry leaders, and improving the curriculum.
Moreover, the agreements with different actors grant more resilience toward and independence from tech giants forming the tech demand. For instance, there is a trend referring to the diversification of the bootcamp curriculum, showing the model’s applicability towards non-tech markets.
According to Career Karma’s report, despite the demand for development jobs, only 46,9% of all programs offered relate to coding, while 11,8% and 10% refer to Data Science and UX/UI design, respectively.
Such a shift in a curriculum comes from the fact that significant bootcamps have partnered with various businesses and adapted their courses following their needs.
Just imagine the possible size of the UX/UI bootcamp market share in several years. With the expected 380,000 people to be re-skilled or up-skilled and trends toward bootcamp diversification, there is a chance that thousands of people will study within the UX/UI design bootcamps.
Sure, this number comes from the generalization, yet, it shows an enormous potential for the non-tech bootcamp academies.
3. Elevating credibility and student attraction
We have underlined that bootcamp partnerships offer better opportunities, affecting graduate placement rates. In turn, such cooperation positively affects bootcamp image and credibility.
When students associate the bootcamp with a potential employer, they can perceive it as more trustworthy and reliable. That way, they believe they have chances for successful career opportunities. Partnering with successful companies or niche actors in an oversaturated market can give a bootcamp a significant advantage.
That is why bootcamps like Brainstation, Ironhack, and General Assembly pay significant attention to testimonials. They act as a powerful promotional instrument, underlining the quality of education.
Ironhack has 600+ hiring partners; Brainstation has over 6500, while General Assembly has more than 1000 partners with startups and large companies, 70 of which are from Fortune 100. Most of which are used in testimonials to underline the career service they offer.
4. Supporting lifelong learning
Finally, the partnerships offer opportunities to encourage people to continue learning and get additional knowledge from different spheres.
The survey on the global bootcamp market suggests that around 49% of students enrolled in bootcamps want to get additional education afterward. The explanation is that bootcamp education enables community building and lifelong learning.
The bootcamp, having a partnership with an employer, can become a platform for lectures from an industry expert and guest, mentorships, and projects. That way, they could get the latest trends, improve professionally, increase their network, and see their next educational goal.
Ultimately, lifelong learning aims to help gain new skills and relevant experience, whereas partnerships offer materials, content, and events that students will benefit from.
Companies that hire bootcamp grads: Where to look for partnerships
Yes, there is a constant demand for specialists with solid technical and developed soft skills. Thus, companies, from startups to tech giants and law firms, hire bootcamp graduates based on their skills, experience, and available partnerships.
Should we look at companies that hire grads? Yes. The TOP 7 tech companies in 2022 are Amazon, Accenture, JP Morgan Chase and Co, Shopify, Google, AWS, and Apple.
Our research suggests that these companies favor graduates of well-known bootcamps like Flatiron Academy, General Assembly, Thinkful, and Brainstation. The main reason is their standing partnerships and presence in large metropolitan areas, like New York and San Francisco Bay area in the U.S. or London in the U.K.
Simultaneously, the market tendencies show that tech giants have become more conservative and reduced hiring new employees.
Finding bootcamp partnerships: Focus on niches and needs
Does this mean that companies hire bootcamp grads less? No! There is just a change in the actors that hire.
The e-commerce and digital businesses thrive, meaning that different enterprises, small and large, still need tech and non-tech employees. That way, even bootcamps from small cities can place graduates into various businesses by partnering locally or within a specific niche.
In this regard, the targeted approach to finding bootcamp partners can bring fruitful cooperation. Your goal is to focus on the company’s needs and strategies or the specific niche your academy can produce graduates for.
Strategy #1. Pick partners that will grow in the near future
The particular approach contemplates finding, contacting, or inviting partners that are about to grow and have a growing need in your bootcamp graduates. You can reflect on the changes within the market or look for promising companies.
Let’s consider several examples:
- If you are an academy offering law bootcamps, focus on new agencies or companies trying to diversify business or enter new markets.
- If you offer design bootcamps, target promising development agencies aggressively marketing their services.
You can also partner with startups or communities of startups. Yet, be aware that small startups may not guarantee high placement rates in the short run but be excellent places for apprenticeships. If they manage to grow and maintain strong relationships with you, your academy may be the first they will resort to.
Strategy #2. Target in-demand skills within niches and actors that constantly need specific specialists
On the other hand, you can focus on the specific needs that markets may require depending on the growth stage, tendencies, or adoption of technologies.
Let’s look at UX/UI skills demand. The e-commerce market is still expected to grow, reaching a certain level of saturation. It means that retail companies look for designers to be competitive.
That’s why top retail actors are actively hiring bootcamp graduates with UX/UI skills, including Target, Sam’s Club, Chewy, and Lowe’s Home Improvement.
So, if you represent a Design Bootcamp academy, you would consider partnering with similar companies or competitors.
The same applies to niches within the B2B market, fintech, or healthcare industries. The adoption of applications to meet the technological needs of clients forces them to hire developers and designers.
When the healthcare companies like McKesson, Abbott, and Medical Solutions hire UX/UI bootcamp graduates, their smaller counterparts will want to keep up. In that case, they would need new ideas, teams, and practices, while your UI/UI academy graduates can help.
Models that bootcamp academies may use
So yes, partnerships work for large and small companies, tech and non-tech spheres.
Yet, what are the partnership options or models that bootcamps can adopt? Based on the cases from the leading bootcamps, we can offer the following strategies:
- Create a page on your platform to invite companies that hire students. Designing a form on the website is the primary step that a company should take. Here are good examples from ElevenFifty Academy and FullStack Academy. Interestingly, with time, it can be developed into a separate career service tool similar to the one the Course Careers offers.
- Start an apprenticeship or training via specialists or agreements. Also, a training agreement with a small firm or company can work, especially if they are a startup or niche firm. Besides, this option may suit a UX/UI, data science, or cybersecurity bootcamp. The apprenticeship can be a separate agreement or be an initiative of the guest lecturer or specialist. For example, Eventbrite’s cooperation with Hackbright Academy started with a meetup and a talk afterward.
- Develop a specific program within the employer’s premises. This option should be a perfect solution if you are willing to place graduates in a particular company or industry. The program can allow people to learn the industry needs and knowledge. For instance, the Flatiron School and Deloitte worked together to find cybersecurity trainees. So, usually, it works best for large actors.
- Provide training programs and later extend cooperation. Besides, the cases of successful academies prove that the bootcamp can partner to provide training for the employees and then place students there because of the insights and connections. In particular, Kenzie Academy partnered with Amazon to train Amazon employees in 2022. Today, Amazon actively hires Kenzie Academy bootcamp graduates.
Ultimately, such partnership options can help different bootcamps grow across other areas, both in large metropolitan and less populated ones, fulfilling the demand of the local businesses and niches.
Higher education institutions and bootcamps: another approach bridging the gap
Another way for bootcamps to get an advantage and meet goals is through academic cooperation.
Many learning providers consider bootcamps an alternative to the higher education institution. And yes, employers (72%) underline that bootcamps graduates have skills similar to those with university degrees. With that in mind, there is no room for bootcamp industry-university partnerships.
Yet, the reality is different. There is plenty of room. The universities and bootcamps partner and find ways to create unique models to answer the ongoing demand of the market.
In particular, the latest developments show a 28.5% increase in U.S. university-bootcamp partnerships in 2022, implying public-private partnership growth in the future. The reasons for such an increase differ, from financial gain to brand recognition.
Via partnerships, universities get income (usually around 20% of student bootcamp fees), bridge the tech and business gap, and improve the chances of their students to find a job afterwards.
However, what can a bootcamp achieve by agreeing to an academic collaboration?
Get an inflow of students without marketing
It’s pretty obvious, right? Partnering with the university to organize the course means that the students of this university will be bootcamp’s target audience. Usually, the marketing efforts are on the university, meaning an academy can focus on other things. For a bootcamp, it is an effective way to ensure the inflow of students, although with a less profit margin.
Close the gap between traditional and modern education
Universities often provide significant theoretical knowledge that may fail to answer the changing needs of the industry. Thus, industry-university collaboration under the bootcamp program can help students gain technical knowledge and soft skills, particularly teamwork and leadership skills.
The bootcamps are the way to answer the changing tech stack for universities. That’s why some even buy bootcamps to provide learning solutions and offer students career services.
Have greater credibility and recognition
Bootcamps may have issues with credibility arising from the lack of accreditation. In contrast, the universities are more transparent in their educational outcomes. In this regard, partnering with universities is the way to improve the bootcamp recognition and image.
Besides, the certificate with two names, of the bootcamp and university, has more chances to be recognized by the future employees.
Develop a sustainable model for bootcamp
Lastly, the accreditation of the bootcamps has been the reason for suits and scandals. Sure, there are Make School and Flatiron School cases built around the misinterpretation of employability and improperly marketing student outcomes.
Yet, academic collaboration with accredited universities can offer bootcamps a way to create a sustainable model. For instance, bootcamps can be registered as an extension school that will be accredited as the university’s part. That way, it may not be subject to significant regulatory examinations and focus on the career service and meeting the changing market needs.
Look at how different academies use partnership models to gain a competitive advantage and grow their businesses. Trilogy Education Services partners with top-tier universities to corner the market. The Flatiron School has tried establishing a global network; its partnership with Cambridge University in the U.K. supports this idea.
Simultaneously, General Assembly partners with colleges and becomes the bridge between business and higher education. That way, they build a more diverse talent funnel and support larger university-industry collaboration.
Conclusion: Partnerships are to grant a competitive advantage
The bootcamp market boom was a surprise in the beginning. Yet, it continues to develop. The market shifts constantly create the demand for new specialists in tech and non-tech industries, while bootcamps seem to answer to it.
With the increase in demand, the competition will rise, making partnerships (business and academic ones) crucial for a bootcamp academy's growth.
An effective partnership with a company allows the academy to build strong relationships, agree on career opportunities for graduates, get insights and understand the market needs. That way, it improves the quality of learning and affects the bootcamp appeal before students.
And, as the market grows, we can predict even more complex partnerships, particularly with EdTech companies.
Regarding bootcamp industry-university cooperation, the bootcamp academies can get an excellent credibility boost and help develop a sustainable bootcamp model.