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Opinion

Addressing the Unemployability problem in India at it’s very core

India is facing a tough challenge in skill development. A recent report has brought forward figures that are not surprising but hard-hitting for the youth, who are struggling with the problems surrounding the higher education system and subsequent job readiness. 

Employability of India’s youth is dwindling, with only 46% of participants deemed job-ready. The report clearly calls out that imparting practical-oriented knowledge and helping in cultivating the right attitude among students towards job and learning, beginning at the school level itself will result in effective influence over the individuals. Banking and Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) BPO, KPO and ITeS Internet business will be the top sectors for 2020, predicted the report by AICTE.*

In India 56% of employers are estimated to have a hard time finding appropriate talent. Globally India is the only country with a working age human surplus and it is going to be a huge segment of the population by 2025. We started AttainU to ensure that our demographic numbers convert into a dividend instead of a burden.

What do we do at AttainU:

AttainU provides high quality, online, college alternative education to help students beat the job blues by being technically sound, and employable.  Currently, we offer a 7 month-long software engineering course that helps students with career-oriented software engineering concepts, along with life skills required to succeed in the 21st century. We are heavily leveraging technology to, at scale, deliver a vertically integrated solution covering the below key areas –

  1. Counseling – this is where we help the student understand what it means to be a Software Engineer as well as figure out if they would be able to benefit from our course which is based on their aptitude, inclination and most importantly ability to put in the required effort.
  2. Skill Building – this is the central piece which allows us to deliver high-quality learning outcomes at scale. The crux here is maintaining high student engagement throughout the course. This is achieved through facilitating highly immersive interactions with instructors, mentors and peers focused around a centrally defined course path built-in line with industry partners and delivered by industry expert faculty. 
  3. Placements – it’s unfair to talk about higher education without providing career support. This is where we prepare the students for placements, do the match-making and facilitate the interactions between our industry partners and students.
  4. Income Share Agreement – this is a deferred fee payment model conditional to employment. This makes sure that we have skin in the game and aspirational students can afford this high-quality education irrespective of their financial background.

We are one of the very few companies working on a deferred payment model for students to enroll in our courses. 

What sets AttainU apart:

Zero to One Skilling – 

Our learning tracks provide a zero to one learning opportunity i.e. neither our industry partners nor we care about the degrees a person has. We take students from scratch all the way to expert entry-level software engineers in the industry. We have also had students, without any degree or with diplomas skilled through our programs and get placed in the end.

Online Model with 90% Completion Rate – 

Through our high-engaging managed marketplace approach we have been able to achieve 90% completion rates in an online education model. This makes it possible for everyone to benefit from our courses, without the need to move cities and take on additional living expenses. 

Being online, besides making our model infinitely scalable also allows us to, for the first time, collect a lot of granular data points around students and teaching staff interactions and progress. We use all of this data to preempt any student going off track, to iterate our teaching processes towards excellence, to better predict which students would be able to benefit most from our courses and to do a closer mapping between our placement partners and graduates.

We exist for the success of our students. Our goal is to not only prepare our students for their first interview, but also for financial success and intellectually fulfilling careers in future-proof domains. This is in line with our core value of creating a skills first college alternative.

Who is this course for:

Majority of our students are those who have been victims of the broken education system in India and either due to lack of finances or exposure did not get the right platform to evolve their skills. They come from varying educational backgrounds, some don’t even have any degree and a few others have multiple gap years due to family obligations in between. At this point, right after our first batch itself, we are seeing our graduates not only doing well for themselves, but also being amongst the best performers at their respective companies. As a result we have companies coming back to us keenly waiting for our next batches to graduate. These are strong signals of the future where degrees are losing their shine in front of skills.

Over the last 11 months we have received 70,000+ student applications, out of which we have been able to enroll 700+ students after our counselling and benchmarking. At this point we are starting batches of 150 every month. Our first batch recently graduated at a 90% completion rate and 70% students got pre-placement offers. We work with 150+ partners to meet their hiring requirements.

The problem solving:

We are living in a world of accelerated advancement. What this means for the tech industry is that as new technologies become available for use, the industry wants to apply these (hardware -> internet -> big data -> cloud computing, machine learning -> artificial intelligence -> data science) to more efficiently serve their business needs. Because of this, the industry needs the employed workforce to learn these new skills to be able to implement them. 

Above mentioned regular skill upgrade is only possible when the fundamental conceptual understanding is very solid and then an individual is able to build on top of those and pick up new skills as needed. A typical coding boot camp focuses on certain very specific technologies and hence it’s graduates suffer at the time when they are required to upgrade their skills. AttainU focuses on fundamental, conceptual understanding rather than teaching only particular technologies. In this regard, we are closer to a college preparing it’s graduates for a career in Software Engineering rather than only for the first job. AttainU’s curriculum and pedagogy are designed to teach the software engineering concepts in a technology (language/framework) agnostic way to ensure that our graduates are equally, if not better suited for a software engineering career as compared to CSE (Computer Science Engineering) college graduates. Due to this philosophy, we don’t need our students to have any background in software engineering before starting the course, all they need to have is a high growth potential including the will and wherewithal to put in the required effort.

By removing all the location and money barriers we are making high-quality, outcome-oriented education accessible for all. Through a scalable platform of the first approach to education, we want to get rid of this demand-supply gap and enable all to maximize their potential. 

*The report is a joint initiative of Wheebox (a Global Talent Assessment Company), Tagged by PeopleStrong and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with UNDP, AICTE and Association of Indian Universities (AIU). 

The Author Is CEO and Co-Founder of AttainU

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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