[Startup Bharat] Bhubaneswar-based NinthSem is making engineers industry ready

Edtech startup NinthSem enables engineers to learn the latest industry specific skills from professionals and become suitable for new-age jobs.
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Unemployment of engineers is on the rise in India due to lack of necessary skills. A 2019 report titled “National Employability Report for Engineers 2019” by Aspiring Minds revealed that over 80 percent of engineering graduates in India do not have necessary skills to be employed.

Having faced the problem personally after completing their engineering, Soumya Ranjan Sahoo, Ambika Prasanna Dhal, and Telip Kumar Pradhan launched NinthSem in July this year to solve this problem.

Headquartered in Bhubaneswar, the edtech startup is aimed at providing skill-based learning to core engineering students. The students are taught in real-time by industry experts coming from every core engineering sector.

“India is producing engineers by certificate and not by skills. We encountered this problem when we saw there is a constantly increasing unemployment rate and the widening gap between conventional academia learning and industry requirements for the engineering students. We felt the need for skill-based learning for the students and came up with NinthSem,” Soumya tells YourStory.

Illustration: YS Design

Making engineers industry ready

Soumya explains that NinthSem is an online learning platform and has its own learning management system where students can sign up and avail all the services.

“The name ‘NinthSem' itself suggests it is beyond the conventional eight semesters of engineering. NinthSem is aimed at equipping students with all the required skills - not only to crack tough interviews but also to build confidence to excel their career in the core engineering sector,” says Soumya, who is a chemical engineer and has over five years of experience in the sector.

Ambika worked as an electrical engineer for over six years, and Telip, a mechanical engineer with over five years of experience in real estate industry.

According to Soumya, the skill-based courses provided by the startup have been designed to teach industry-specific skills. Students learn via video lectures, mock interviews, and mock tests provided by working professionals who prepare their course depending on the current market trend and requirements.

“Engineers from companies such as Tata group, HAL, SAIL, Godrej, Hindalco, L&T, Atul, Alembic, Aarti Industries, and Air India, among others, are providing their expertise to the students,” the co-founder says. He added that the teachers have a minimum of five years of work experience and are paid by the startup depending on the duration of the live sessions or video lectures provided by them.

The startup’s flagship product, Certification Course on Industry Module (CCIM), offers skill-based video learning modules prepared by industry experts from various core engineering sectors. The co-founder adds that a total of over 500 hours of skill-based video modules are available at NinthSem e-learning portal. On successful completion of the course, a 'Certificate of completion' is awarded to the students.

“We provide other services such as mock tests, doubt clearance sessions, CV/Resume making, LinkedIn profile auditing and building, mock interviews, interview feedback review session, career counseling, and one-to-one mentorship to boost soft skills among the students,” Soumya says.

Business and more

The startup allows students to register themselves using the official website. NinthSem has on-boarded 2,157 students so far from across the country and is also in talks with some engineering colleges for B2B services, said the co-founder.

The bootstrapped startup operates on a subscription-based revenue model where students can choose between basic, and premium package plans which costs Rs 1,998, and Rs 4,998, respectively.

According to a report by RedSeer and Omidyar Network India, the post-K12 edtech market is expected to grow 3.7 times to touch $1.8 billion by 2022. The report also highlights that the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be one of the biggest game-changers for the Indian edtech sector.

Speaking about the market, Soumya adds, “The potential of this sector is huge after rapid digitisation and formation of new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Indian education sector will further see a massive public spending that will further fuel the education market in the country due to the booming edtech sector.”

Several edtech startups have come up to disrupt the post-K12 space and provide industry-based skills to graduates to help them become fit for the industry need. Bengaluru-based DALHAM Learning is aimed at providing soft skills training to technical students to make them job-ready.

Talking about future plans, Soumya reveals that NinthSem is looking to launch its Android app.

“Our plan is to bridge the gap between classroom learning and industrial skill-based learning by collaborating with 500 degree and diploma engineering colleges by the end of 2021,” he adds.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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