It was an expected return home. Created in 2016 in San Francisco by two French people (Julien Barbier and Sylvain Kalache), Holberton School, which trains in coding, has chosen Lille for its first French and European establishment. To access it, no knowledge in the field, no diploma, cover letter or interview is required. Online tests are sufficient to detect the motivation and the capacity to learn of candidates who, for some, have a profile of “dropouts”, or are in retraining.
Nine months of training in the fundamentals (without any course, but thanks to practice), followed by a specialization over three months (Web developer) or nine (“machine learning”, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, engineering). “We are increasing interactions with companies, which intervene regularly and offer internships”, highlighted Benoît Denot, one of the two directors of Holberton School Hauts-de-France.
Hence the establishment within the EuraTechnologies ecosystem (360 digital companies and 5 incubators), with 50 students per class and three classes per year. The first will start in January, remotely.
Eventually, it could be hosted on the future EuraTechnologies campus for innovation and entrepreneurship (20,000 m2), expected during 2021. There could then be up to six promotions per year. “We come with our alternative pedagogy to respond to a glaring shortage of developers, which the traditional education system cannot fill”, add Benjamin Dhellemmes, another school leader.
Holberton School Hauts-de-France benefits from the financial support of local partners of national scope: Octave Klaba (OVH) on a personal basis, Vade Secure (player in mailbox security in Europe), the IdKids group (Okaïdi, Jacadi, Obaïbi, Oxybul), as well as three “business angels”.
France is the ninth territory (United States, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Lebanon, Tunisia) in which Holberton School is established, the group comprising 15 schools and 1,900 students. Two-thirds of these are over 22 years old, the oldest being 58 years old). In the countries listed above, students only pay their tuition at the end of the course, once hired, which in France is prohibited because it is considered to be a disguised credit.
The Lille school has thus established a partnership with two regional banks, which will grant student loans to young recruits, corresponding to the amount of the tuition: 6,120 euros the first year and as much the second – in proportion to the time spent at school ( three or nine months in the second year) depending on the chosen specialty. Unlike conventional student loans, these will be granted without age limit, and repayment will start at the first hire and not at the end of the course. “The school can act as a guarantor with the bank for students who do not have a deposit”, concludes Benjamin Dhellemmes.