Published: 17th March 2021
Here's how Spotknack is securing employment opportunities for the average student
Harshavarthan Maran founded Spotknack to give the average student an opportunity to get a job based on their skills and not marks
In the movie 3 Idiots, Aamir Khan's character delivered one of the most iconic dialogues that loosely translates to 'Be skilled and capable, success will follow suit'. Unfortunately, like in the movie, the higher education system is still focused on marks and not skill development. The academy and industry divide remains wide in several institutions. While it isn't that bad for a topper or a high ranker in such a system, the average student — which forms a majority of the student populace — is the one who suffers. So what can the average student do? Harshavarthan Maran has a solution. Based in Coimbatore, Harshavarthan is the founder of Spotknack, a start-up that helps engineering students develop their skills. It also provides them with placement opportunities.
So, how does the start-up work? Harshavarthan explains, "We have tied with people who are working in the industry to mentor college students. Mentors are mostly ex-Zoho employees or employees from companies like Spectrum Global and Facilio. Throughout the programme, college students also have the potential to earn some money through gigs and internships. Since they are trained by relevant mentors from the field of their choice, they are also eligible to get referred to the company." Harshavarthan expresses his desire to create a large group of skilled individuals, ready to be hired, by the end of 2021. "We have launched the Spotknack Mission 2021, through which we want to create a pool of 300 skilled college students. Any employer can then come to us to hire these students with all the relevant skills they need," says Harshavarthan.
Pic: Harshavarthan Maran
Launched in January this year, Spotknack is now incubated at AIC Raise, a start-up incubator supported by Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog. "With the help of AIC Raise, we will be organising talent fairs every six months, where students can pitch their skills to employers for job or internship opportunities," says Harshavarthan. Once inculcated into the community of skilled students, they will remain lifelong members and will receive continuous skill development and support. "After students complete the skilling course and get into the community, they will also be exposed to multiple challenges which will allow them to apply the skills they have learnt," says Harshavarthan. Through these challenges, students will be able to gain more knowledge and experience.
Harshavarthan hopes to not only build a space for average students but also help start-ups form their initial team. "Our target employers are start-ups that have been operational from anything between zero to ten years. These companies find it very hard to get people; they can come to Spotknack and hire skilled students," he says. And the mentoring programme prepares the student to get hired as well. Besides upskilling them, the mentors also teach them character-defining and personality development skills. "Mentors teach them communication skills and also about the right kind of attitude that should be displayed at the workplace," adds Harshavarthan.
Skill development workshops for engineering students in India:
- Start-Up Policy for Technical Institutions
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna by Technical Institutions
- Skill Knowledge Providers
- Employability Enhancement Training Programme
- National Employability Enhancement Mission
(These are part of the government's Skill Development Cell and conducted by AICTE)
To maintain the quality of training, Spotknack ensures that each mentor is not bombarded with students. "At any given point of time, a mentor's session will not have more than 14 students," states Harshavarthan. Currently, the start-up has over 25 students who are being trained by six mentors. "The programme is completely virtual, with students joining in from various parts of Tamil Nadu like Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli," adds Harshavarthan.