Interview with Jack Hylands, Co-Founder at EdTech Start-Up: FourthRev

FourthRev is an edtech company creating a new education category at the intersection of universities and employers. FourthRev programmes combine the best of career focused education built with the world’s leading technology companies, with the academic rigour, value and recognition of global universities. Learners gain the technical skills they need for immediate job outcomes and the transferable capabilities that enable high-growth careers.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

My co-founder and I have both been working in the post-secondary education space for the best part of the last 10 years, across university executive roles, online programme management and bootcamp education. We’ve seen first-hand the value that great universities offer to students and employers, but also the need for universities to adapt to best meet the needs of modern learners in the digital economy.

Our experience working with digital companies also means we know this is a huge win-win for all stakeholders, with companies seeking high-calibre digital talent and most importantly for learners that can access pathways to meaningful and rewarding careers.


What challenges are FourthRev addressing and why is your offering needed?

The digital transformation of the economy brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and accelerated by the pandemic means that digital capabilities are critical to the future of work. There is a huge demand for digital talent, and a dramatic shortfall of graduate and working professionals with the requisite digital capabilities, forecast to cost G20 countries $11.5tn in lost GDP growth over the next 10 years.

Universities are brilliantly positioned to impact this crisis at scale, but face challenges in ensuring content, curriculum and learning experiences can be built at the pace of change needed to keep up with the digital economy. Simultaneously, there is a need and opportunity to go beyond the traditional degree programmes and deliver innovative experiences that meet the needs and expectations of a diverse, modern learning audience.

Our offerings enable universities to offer up-to-date, market-driven curriculum with direct pathways to jobs and formal university qualifications. By adding academic excellence and rigour to the alternative credentials formula and underpinning it with the sustained value that university credentials hold with employers, institutions can hit the sweet spot of student demand and employability success.

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The themes we’re focused on have been exacerbated and accentuated. Digital companies have fared most successfully through the pandemic and digital transformation of traditional industries has accelerated, making it more apparent than ever how important digital capabilities are to all professionals. A very significant number of people have been displaced from their roles, and will need to transition into new jobs.

The growth opportunities are in middle and high skills roles, typically in the digital economy. As a result, there is a greater need than ever for universities to evolve their offerings to meet these needs and opportunities, which means we have been able to grow very significantly in terms of partnerships, revenue and headcount.

What are the ambitions for FourthRev in the future?

We hope to play a meaningful role in impacting the digital skills crisis through deep partnerships with universities, tech companies and employer partners around the globe.