Published: 09th June 2020
Lost your job to COVID? Internshala can help you Re.Start your career. Check out how
If you are one of those people who were handed the pink slip after March 31, then Internshala, the internship and training start-up, might be able to skill you for a new job altogether. This is how
Restarting isn't as easy as it sounds. More so, when we have weathered a pandemic. And when this storm passes, we will have to pick up the pieces and start all over again, especially those who have lost their jobs. And there is a huge percentage of them. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, over six crore people between the ages of 20 and 39 lost jobs in the month of April. How nice would it be if someone could help you reskill and truly restart your career?
Internshala, the internship and online training platform, decided they will lend a hand through Re.Start, training programmes that are four to six weeks long and can help you kickstart a new career. It is especially for those who lost their jobs after March 31 and if you are one of them, they might be able to help you out. The Gurugram-based start-up is offering these Internshala Trainings to 1,000 people on a first-come-first-serve basis. They have carefully curated a list of 20 skill sets that you can learn so that it is easier for you to change careers.
We got in touch with Sarvesh Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Internshala, to ask him about Re.Start and how they plan on delivering these sessions. Towards the end, the entrepreneur reminds us that this too shall pass, but we must be prepared to take whatever it leaves behind, head-on. Excerpts from a detailed interview:
Since when has the idea of Re.Start been in the works and when did you realise that there is a dire need for something like this?
Ever since India went into lockdown on March 25 and it became clear that COVID-19 may result in massive job losses across different industries, we have been thinking about how we could help the impacted people get back on their feet. In the beginning, our free training initiatives were launched for students (since colleges were shut down) or the children of healthcare workers (as a tribute to them) or college faculty (who need to prepare their students for a new normal now) and over 7,000 people benefitted from that. Between lockdown 3.0 and 4.0, once the news of layoffs started pouring in and it became clear that it would be a while before the job market bounces back and even when it does, people with upgraded skills would have a better shot at rebuilding their careers, Re.Start was given shape and finalised.
Ready to train? | (Pic: Internshala)
There are many MOOCs offering free courses online and so on, what have you done to ensure that the training you offer is different from anything else being offered?
First is the content and the product experience itself — we proudly call Internshala Trainings as a 'Made in India and Made for the World' product. The quality of the teaching and the product features we have built facilitate learning and are second to none. For example, our training programme on cybersecurity comes with an in-built virtual practice lab, our creative writing training comes with a peer-grading system and our French training comes with an in-build speaking practice engine — very few online platforms integrate content and technology in the way we have done. Second is that all our trainings have a higher component of hands-on exercises and projects which we believe are absolutely essential in today's market when your skills matter more than your certificate or degree. Third is the doubt clearing system where, even in our free trainings, learners can ask their doubts to the teachers and get them answered within 24 hours. Finally, all our trainings come with a placement assistance feature which includes free access to a soft-skills training, access to curated internships, and an opportunity for toppers of the batch to be highlighted in their applications on Internshala — all these benefits are being extended to the learners under this initiative as well.
Tell us the process of curation of the list of programmes and why it is more tech-heavy? Also, the reasoning behind including Creative Writing and French Learning, because these courses stood out for us.
All the training programmes on Internshala Trainings are curated based on high demand for the skills in the industry. Based on Internshala’s data on internships, engineering and management are the top fields among both employers and students. This is the reason why we have a lot of training in the field of Engineering, and hence, the list is tech-heavy. We also offer training in some of the top management skills like business communication, advanced Excel, digital marketing and financial modeling and valuation. In addition to management and engineering internships, some of the top internship profiles include content writing and graphic designing and programmes are offered for those as well.
Apart from this, we are building training in offbeat skills based on our learners’ demands which includes French language and photography. From these, photography is very much a career skill these days given the recent rise of visual-heavy social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. French, other than being a great hobby, is good for those who may want to use this career break to pursue higher education abroad.
Since they are short-term courses, there is all the more emphasis on effectiveness. Tell us about how this course will indeed help those who have lost their jobs make the switch?
Upskilling oneself and picking up new skills along with the technology and work practices advancements is one of the most important parts of a professional’s career progression. People often find it difficult to make time for learning new skills amid their busy professional and personal life. While it is necessary for working professionals to keep on learning new skills and updating their existing skill-set, it is even more important for people who are out of jobs. The competition for the best of jobs has always been cut-throat and it has become even more challenging with the current economic scenario of the nation.
Taking up this online training will help them by making their candidature stand out among other job seekers hence, making their job finding journeys smoother. It will help them update their resume by learning a new skill in a short duration of time as the training is only four to eight weeks long. In addition to this, professionals could learn these skills from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Sarvesh Agrawal | (Pic: Internshala)
For hands-on practice, you have the 'Build 8 Projects'. Tell us a little about what kind of projects they will be with examples that will help us understand better.
As we mentioned before, an increased focus on-hands on practice through assignments and projects is one of the USPs of Internshala Trainings and the exact number of projects may vary from training to training. For example, our Machine Learning training requires students to work on four different projects/assignments to build various prediction models based on different algorithms (say predict a house's price based on its characteristics and location); our Excel training requires learners to analyse data of a hypothetical food delivery start-up at various points in its journey, Digital Marketing training provides students an opportunity to work on eight projects where they set up their own blog and implement eight different digital marketing strategies on it that they learn in eight different modules and so on.
Tell us more about placement assistance, how much assistance will be offered, and till what step?
After completion of each training, the learners could avail free placement training on the platform. This training walks a learner through various aspects of the hiring process which includes effective résumé-writing, cover letter-writing and interview preparation. In addition to this, we provide curated internship opportunities to our learners based on their skill-set so that they can apply to relevant internships. Also, if the top performers of the training programmes apply for internships, it is highlighted in their applications for the employers.
After Re.Start, what else can we expect from Internshala in the near future?
Internshala’s mission, right from the start, has been to take opportunities closer to the students and graduates. In times like these, while the government is working to minimise the impact of COVID-19, it is essential for organisations to do their bit towards the community. Internshala Trainings, the e-learning arm of Internshala, has provided its free learning on in-demand skills to students whose education has been interrupted, to children of healthcare professionals, to students who are academically bright but are without means, and now to professionals whose jobs have been impacted. Traditional education has been affected dramatically and in the near future, it is important for us to make affordable learning accessible to students in Tier II and III cities and help them build their career. At the same time, we hope to provide work-from-home internships to students across the country so that they are able to learn practical skills right from their homes.
Re.Start | (Pic: Internshala)
To deviate a little from Re.Start to talk about Internshala, can you share with us a few trends that you have noticed on Internshala since the lockdown? Any increase in sign-ups for particular internships and so on?
The impact of COVID-19 on the internships and online learning scenario has been significant. For in-office internships, we have seen a drop of 27 per cent in hiring and the applications being made for in-office internships have also dropped by 23 per cent. This is primarily because the physical offices across the country aren't functional due to the lockdown. On the other hand, the employers are posting virtual or WFH (Work From Home) internships and we have seen a surge of 30 per cent. The interest among the candidates has also increased for WFH internships and we have seen a rise of 36 per cent in terms of applications for WFH internships.
Some of the most in-demand internship profiles among applicants include content-writing web development, social media marketing, data entry and social media marketing. In terms of online learning, there’s been a spike of 303 per cent in the number of learners enrolling for online training programmes in the month of May 2020. The most in-demand skills among learners are programming with Python, web development, digital marketing, ethical hacking and data science.
Any message for the youngsters going through a rough patch now?
In today’s times when people have lost their jobs and the class of 2020 and 2021 are staring at a slump in the job market; it is important that we don’t let this get to our morale and remember that, ‘This too shall pass’. However, once it passes, the ones with the first access to the best opportunities would be the ones who made use of this downtime to continuously learn and put what they learned to practice — no matter how. It is something that all of us should keep in mind as we navigate the uncertain world — we can’t control the environment, but we can (often) choose how we respond to it.
For more on them, check out trainings.internshala.com/re-start-by-internshala-trainings