It's not surprising if you have never heard of the learning and development startup Pluralsight. Hailing from the Silicon Slopes of Utah and focusing in just one vertical: IT, it is probably under many people's radar.
The senior management at Tesco, one of the UK's largest supermarket chains, had never heard of the platform. That was until some of its Indian IT team started asking for Tesco to pay for licenses. It turned out they were already paying for access to courses out of their own pocket.
According to Pluralsight this is a regular occurrence: developers at large enterprises using the platform on their own time and money.
How does it work?
Pluralsight is a cloud-based platform with more than 5,000 video courses across a range of technical skills and proficiencies, from Angular to XML. Technical courses are broken up across seven specialities: software development, IT ops, data, creative industries, business, manufacturing and design, architecture and construction.
Each technical tutorial is authored by an expert in the field who is paid commission depending on how often the video is viewed. Pluralsight claims to have more than 800 authors, some of whom apparently earn millions of dollars in commission every year, with the average being between forty and fifty thousand dollars a year.
Pluralsight joined Utah's herd of tech unicorns after completing a massive $135 million (£94m) Series B funding round in August 2014, putting the company very close to a $1 billion valuation.
Julian Wragg, director of sales EMEA at Pluralsight, says: "[Tesco wanted] to find ways to quickly up-skill their IT staff worldwide. They wanted a consistent global solution." By having team members already engaging with the platform, the task of getting employee buy-in was that much easier.
Luke Fairless, technology director for security programme and capability at Tesco, says that the biggest advantage of giving employees Pluralsight access from their workstation has been: "Having the ability to go and learn more about a topic from a creditable source, working through it at [their] own pace."
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