Gaëlle Féchant’s voice is crisp and firm, the tone of an expert. Head of Education at Skill & You since 2016, she is focusing on creating new training programs, industrializing processes and going international, as the French e-learning leader continues to grow at a two-digit pace.

Skill & You e learning team

Gaëlle and her Education team at Skill & You. Photo credit Thierry Najean

WhP: Gaëlle, tell us what brought Skill and You to where they are today

Gaëlle Féchant: Skill and You fills the widening gap between the education available in schools and the job market. Digitalization and time-to-market have reached record speeds, and traditional classroom-style schools are lagging in the digital and soft skills that today’s workplace warrants. Skill and You relies on working professionals to create up-to-date content and provides dedicated coaches who support the learners. Besides the content, we offer a convenient format for professionals who can’t afford to take a year off to study. They need to maintain an income and may have a busy family life. We’ve found that they spend four hours at the most per session, and our programs integrate several hundred hours of material! For that reason, Skill and You offers the flexibility and time to carry out the training, as our programs and individual tutoring are accessible for three years after enrollment.

We’ve come a long way since our foundation in 1891, when the Post Office mail-coach sent our training material!

Who calls on Skill and You’s services?

Gaëlle Féchant: We have a base of 100,000 learners, with 30,000 new learners every year. Their stories are diverse. Their ages range from 16 to 70; the younger ones may have dropped out of school, while others have a technical qualification or a Batchelor’s degree.

Which are the most popular courses?

Gaëlle Féchant: We have a total of 200 online courses, some graduate, others specific to Skill and You. Our most popular programs echo the passion of our learners, who want a fresh career start in a field that they love. The most popular program is Veterinary Technician, followed by Chef, as food and cooking are firmly rooted in the French “Art de Vivre”. Hiring Christelle Brua for our Pastry Chef program was an inspired move, as she was nominated World’s Best Pastry Chef a few months later, end of 2018. It has given our Pastry Chef program unforeseen visibility.

You’re now expanding your business to Spain and Italy, can you tell us more about it?

Gaëlle Féchant:  After working exclusively in French for over a century, Skill & You is kicking off its expansion in other languages this year. We have just acquired 75% of Ilerna Online, a Spanish e-learning school specialized in graduate education and with a branch in Italy. The acquisition gives us a well-established channel to deploy our existing catalog in Spain and Italy, as well as the opportunity to complete our offering with some of Ilerna’s graduate training programs.

Expanding to Italy led you to translate both the Veterinarian and Pastry Chef programs into Italian, in collaboration with WhP. What did you learn from your first translation project?

Gaëlle Féchant: When we created the content of the courses, we did it for the French audience. We paid little attention to the purely French references that come up regularly, such as the type of flour to use in a recipe, or the name of the sorting containers for recycling. WhP was quick to alert us on the French specifics and guide us towards either a light text adaptation or reshooting a scene. They were also very helpful in helping us choose between video dubbing and subtitling. Given Christelle Brua’s worldwide renown, they advised us to keep her voice. Our Project Manager Paola Martinelli spent time advising us throughout the project, and we know a lot more today on translation than when we started six months earlier.

What made you choose WhP in the first place?

Gaëlle Féchant:  Back when I worked at Demos, I had heard of WhP’s superior quality. I called back my contacts, and they confirmed that WhP stood out in the field of e-learning content translation. The second reason is that they take a project management approach, and followed us through each step, adapting to our activity spurts and limited availability. We’re looking forward to working with WhP again soon!