Talerang, an organisation that provides career training to students and professionals, with the mission to create a work-ready India is launching chapters at colleges across Goa. NT KURIOCITY speaks to the founder and CEO of Talerang, Shveta Raina to find out about its plans in Goa and more
- Could you please elucidate about ‘Talerang’ and its fee structure?
Talerang offers career training to students and young professionals. It started with the vision to create a work-ready India. In India there are 35000 colleges with almost 10 million students graduating every year but most of them are not employable so we try and bridge this gap through training and providing an access to job opportunities. Talerang began as a project when I was a student at Harvard Business School, Boston and I led this independent research project under the guidance of professor Das Narayan Das to find a solution to India’s employability crisis, which grew into Talerang. Our initial pilots were funded by a grant from Harvard’s Social Enterprise Initiative. When I was researching about the employability crisis, 60 per cent of the students that we spoke to said that they did not feel prepared to graduate. So based on this interaction with top colleges in India I felt that there was a huge gap between what colleges were teaching and what companies really expect from them. The project is completely need-based; the program could even be free for some students. About half of our students are on scholarship and the ones who can afford pay for the training and then they recover the fees through an internship or a job opportunity. The idea is that it should be a break-even philosophy for students.
- Having done your schooling in Mumbai and graduation at Harvard Business School, where do you think we lack in employability of students?
In other countries, people start earning and doing internships at a younger age so you will see high school students doing part time jobs and earning. They are not ashamed to do internship or jobs even when they are 15 or 16 years old but in India there is a tendency of working only after a Masters degree. I think practical guidance and practical exposure is really missing in our country. We are bookish and academically inclined. When it comes to actually getting things done we lack that ability. The problem here is that we are always trying to study, get marks and get ahead but if we do not take a step back and try and understand what are our strengths, development areas and where we fit then we will remain behind. So the first thing is to know yourself, which area to get into rather than rushing in. It is okay even if students want to take a gap year but we look away from gap years, we look away from taking time off. Second thing is to prepare yourself with the right skills and the main thing we need to focus is on communication skills, the ability to work smart, comfort with technology and problem-solving abilities. And the third thing is to prove yourself in interviews and resumes and being able to network. We Indians tend to be very nervous in front of any senior person, therefore we need to get over that fear factor by just going out and networking.
- What are your plans in Goa?
Our organisation is based in Mumbai and we have offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Pune. We have also launched a chapter in Nasik, Chandigarh and Patiala and we plan to be in 20 cities by the end of 2018. We are launching chapters at colleges across Goa so that students here can create a community of work related young professionals and students. At colleges we are meeting faculty and students and getting them excited about getting work-ready. Then these students will become eligible for our programs and we will try and get them jobs.
- Why did you think of coming to Goa?
I feel Goa has amazing colleges and it has a lot of potential. It is a great place for students to learn. But there is a lack of types of industry here and that is why I felt that companies should actually come to Goa to recruit and those students who do not find jobs here can go and work in head offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. When I came here people thought I was coming for vacations so that is the impression people have of Goa. Therefore, I thought there might be a need for an entity to come here, prepare students, and then connect them to the right job opportunities.
- Why do you think there is a need for training here?
I was really good in mathematics but when I started my first job, I really struggled; that mathematics was of no good because we are so academic and educated sometimes we forget the practical aspect of it and how we actually need to interact with people. We need to do tasks on time; we struggle with things like punctuality, ownership, high expectations and quality output. These are things that can’t be learned from a book. Students need to spend their college years getting practical exposure rather than bookish knowledge.
- How do we need to change our education system so that people do not have go to for training?
We need to get our faculty to go and work in the industry. Most of faculty I meet, have never worked in a company; they have gained only academic knowledge. For example, a teacher teaching economics have never worked in a corporate sector. There is a gap between the curriculum that the faculty is teaching and the exposure of the faculty. Right now teacher and professor is the last option in India wherein it should be the top.