Each year over 3 million graduates and post-graduates are added to the Indian workforce according to NASSCOM. However, of these only 25 per cent of technical graduates and 10-15 percent of other graduates are considered actually employable. Industry today faces a shortage of appropriately skilled manpower and the possibility of someone joining straight out of college being upto the mark is rare. Estimates say, it takes atleast six months before a graduate becomes actually employable.
This is the opportunity that Alok Bhageria and Rohan Nair spotted to start inQuisitive.in. The platform as envisaged by the duo is to help create a platform where students, academia and industry could come on board interact, engage and help each other. The company started in July 2012 and did offline training in the initial few months. The work on the current platform began in January 2013, which went live six months later in June 2013. Rohan says, the platform as it is today is a comprehensive knowledge platform that attempts to make quality education accessible to students who do not have access to the finest universities and their first-rate professors. The courses being offered by the site are include banking, financial services and insurance sector, as well as courses especially related to the capital markets. All courses are delivered via the platform and it’s free.
The biggest advantage to students and candidates who register for the courses is that the courses are developed based on inputs from industry and every course has been specifically designed to suit a ready role within the said industry. Students can interact with industry experts to get a real time feedback on projects, internships, course structures through hangouts, mock interviews and personal meetings.The portal provides information about different companies and the future career paths students can expect in order to take informed decisions and build required skill sets for their chosen career. “We are trying to create different points of engagement for students by asking corporates to list live projects, internship and employment opportunities to connect the course learning with the corporate work culture. So what we have tried to create is a learning, evaluation, engagement and employment model for students and corporates” says Rohan.
For corporates the benefits are manifold. The process of scouting right talent, training candidates on relevant aspects and ensuring fit is all a part of the inQuisitive course offering – this in turn ensures time, effort and money spent on training fresher’s every time is saved. A standard placement fee is charged from every student placed in corporates in return of all the above services.
A lot of features and benefits are generic and similar to most MOOC platforms like coursera.org, Alison.com or open culture programs, but the main differentiating factor of inQuisitive programs are the role specific training programs and tight integration with employment. All the courses are followed by assessment and evaluation of the participant on a continual basis. The portal has collaborated with education institutes on one end and companies on another to bridge the gap between the two. “What will drive students to the platform, is not just the certification but the job opportunity as well,” says Alok confidently.
inquisitive also offers students the geographical advantage of being able to logon to the site from any part of the world and take the course at their own pace. Since these courses do not have pre fixed lecture timings, or tests dates, the student can learn and appear for assessments at their convenience, but within the time frame provided by the course. Presently the course on Fundamental Analysis has the most enrollments on inquisitive, says Alok.
inquisitive is a 5 member team who works on designing and implementing the courses. The content for these courses is developed in three stages- firstly the course curriculum is designed by a subject matter expert(within inQuisitive or a consultant signed up for the project). Secondly this content is shared with instructional designers and course authors who develop the storyboards and narrations for the course and thirdly the course development team works on converting storyboards into the final output -- at which point the lecture gets integrated with graphics, audio and video(wherever necessary). The courses are then vetted by the subject matter experts from within the industry in terms of market readiness. Assignments form an integral part of all courses and comprise theory as well as practical trainings. Evaluation and engagement modules are offered at a cost, after which students are certified and are given access to jobs, internships and projects.
Rohan says inQuisitive has been adding ~100 registered users each week since August 2013 had today have with over 600 users on the platform. They have also conducted five orientation workshops for students across colleges in Mumbai and Pune on ‘Careers in Finance.’
“Initially we are planning to manually recruit users from colleges while conducting the orientation workshops. We have not begun marketing the platform as yet but primarily we will use the digital medium to recruit users, as well as spread the word by interacting with students on forums and sites that attract students” says Alok.
They are also in the process of developing a proctored test platform, which will help deliver the entire evaluation module online. And have plans to extend in-person assessment like mock interviews using Google Hangouts. The startup is also in talks with premier institutes offering courses in sectors like retail, pharma, hotel management, ITES, says Rohan.
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