InStride nets first European university partner

SOURCE: Dublin City University
Dublin City University and FutureLearn have collaborated to launch a newly accredited online short course on Fintech.

By U2B Staff 

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Dublin City University (DCU) has become the first European university to join InStride, a third-party learning services enterprise connecting companies with colleges for workforce education.

With this, companies that partner with InStride will have access to DCU’s online degree programmes, as well as that of the firm’s other university partners.

The partnership is a reflection of the global shift to online learning and the growing popularity of third-party providers like InStride, who only burst into the scene earlier this year. 

“In a rapidly changing world, the need for in-work upskilling has never been clearer,” DCU President Professor Brian MacCraith said in a statement on the partnership.

“DCU has a proven track record of providing industry-responsive programmes that address emerging skills gaps. We are also leaders in the online learning space, making DCU an ideal partner for InStride.”


A catalyst for InStride’s launch was the success of corporate partnerships such as the Starbucks College Achievement Plan with Arizona State University (ASU), as well as similar partnerships with Adidas and Uber.

InStride has also initiated additional partnerships with companies such as Aramark (owner of Irish retailer Avoca) and others to design strategic education programmes that help companies better address their human capital needs.

Third-party learning services providers are growing increasingly popular today as workforce education becomes the strategic imperative of industries suffering from the global talent crunch.

Recent months have seen corporate titans from the likes of Uber to Starbucks and Walmart contribute to the burgeoning sentiment that businesses need to invest in the futures of their workforces. These efforts are seen as necessary not just to boost staff morale but to help with recruitment and staff retention.

Operating in a market hitting saturation point, universities naturally want to tap into the demand for workforce education. And third-party providers like InStride are the way to go.


Launched earlier this year by ASU and its private equity partner TPG’s Rise Fund, the public-benefit corporation functions as a conduit between employers and higher education institutions, offering opportunities to employees to access degree programmes provided by its university partners.

The firm’s main focus is on the 37 million people in America who attended college but never finished. According to estimates, these workers make up 20 percent of the current working-age population.

Given current labour market trends and the increasing demand for knowledge and high-skilled workers, it is imperative that these individuals upskill to avoid losing employment or being left behind.

InStride facilitates this.


Since launch, the firm has been working feverishly to expand its educational offering to its corporate partners. With an eye on exploring partnerships with companies across international borders, it has teamed up with providers in Australia, Ireland and most recently in Mexico.

DCU is the latest to join this rapidly growing network.

“InStride is proud to establish a relationship with Dublin City University and President MacCraith as our first European university,” said InStride CEO Vivek Sharma.

“Our corporate partners have global workforces who need additional education at high-quality institutions such as DCU. To lead a global transformative education movement focused on achieving social impact, it’s essential to have an innovative university like DCU as an integral part of our university network.”

DCU is Ireland’s fastest-growing university, with a student population that increased 50 percent in the past five years to reach over 17,500 students. The European university is ranked 19th in the world for Graduate Employment Rate in the 2020 QS Graduate Employment Rankings