Operator’s plan to invest in digital skills programme

Digital skills gap

The rise and disruption of the digital revolution requires us to continuously adapt to the world around us. One international company influenced by such change is Orange. The group have 148,000 employees worldwide.

Another factor adding to this continuous requirement for adaptation is that by 2025, the group will look nothing like it does today. Their intention is to be more international and focused on B2B (Business to Business), however still remaining multi-generational and on the edge of innovative new technologies. To assist them in meeting their ambitious future plans, Orange has created the “skills challenge” an integral part of its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan.

As a part of this initiative, Orange plans to invest €1.5 billion on an ambitious and pioneering skills development and retraining programme. Such a commitment, aims to strengthen, adapt and refresh the skills of all their current employees whilst also addressing new candidates to help create and develop talent pools for the future.

To successfully meet this challenge, Orange has set three main priorities:

  • Strengthen its “tech” expertise: over the next five years, the Group intends to double the number of experts in several key areas to over 20,000 people (network virtualisation, cloud, data, artificial intelligence, code, cybersecurity).
  • Develop, in all its business lines, the use and understanding of data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, in particular within the marketing and network management teams. Beyond these advanced users, all Orange employees will be introduced to these new skills.
  • Offer every employee the opportunity to develop their soft skills, regardless of their function or localization, to enhance the collaborative dynamic for the benefit of customers. Orange hopes to train 100% of employees in these key skills by 2025.

To ensure that these priorities are reached orange has centered their training around three key pillars

  1. The Orange Campus – which was exclusively reserved for training managers – is changing and will now be open to all group employees and focus on four main areas: Data/AI, cybersecurity, management and skills for all (soft skills). The new online school offers a fresh and more open and inclusive learning experience on the strength of its business line experts, digital platforms, major partners such as the CNAM1 and the UIMM2, and dedicated spaces in France, Europe and Africa.

In time, the training will gradually become more tailored and combine short awareness-building or advanced modules with more long-term expertise or retraining course leading to certification or diplomas. They will also be enriched by new and more immersive learning approaches, alongside new digital formats and will capitalize on emerging technologies such as virtual realities, mobile learning and even “hacking rooms”. To combat the lack of skills in the sector, Orange campus is also taking part in initiatives to train outside audiences in order to develop talent pools of individuals with the necessary skills required by the group and also, the needs specified by the market. This is the reason behind the partnerships formed with the “Microsoft AI school, powered by Simplon” and the Grande Ecole du Numérique.

  • The second pillar is established on the wide-scale deployment of on-the-job training by 2025. This is a more individual format and allows employees to learn and develop in real working situations, along with the support of a dedicated guide and based on targets set by their manager. Now recognized by law, such a training format fosters the development of skills that immediately come into practice. Orange intends to significantly develop this training approach over the coming years. Last year alone, over 500 employees took advantage of this approach in France and Tunisia. The Group has set itself the target of extending the scheme to at least 4,000 employees in 2020.
  • Finally, this year, Orange will launch its own Centre de Formation d’Apprentis (Apprentice Training Centre or CFA) to assist its continuous growth and share its expertise in digital professions. Orange has been involved in work-study training for a while and has around 3,500 apprentices hosted in France in 2019 in partnership with over 300 training centres. Supported by Orange Campus, the CFA will be launched from the end of this summer and will train five classes of future graduates offering them the chance to become customer service technicians, cloud engineers, cybersecurity engineers and technicians or data analysts. It will be open to young people in initial education and people looking to retrain and will allow Orange to attract new talented individuals with diverse profiles who match the Group’s priority professions.

It is important for us to confirm our commitment, as a leading and responsible player, to providing further training in digital professions for all our employees and offering additional development and support. We believe that Orange’s sustainable transformation will depend on each and everyone’s ability to learn in new ways and to share their knowledge and expertise, and that the combination of technical and soft skills is one of the keys to our future success,” says Valérie Le Boulanger, Orange Group Executive Director of Human Resources.