Skill Monks

Asset light, scalable model helps meet diverse skilling needs: Skill Monks

Covid-19 has accelerated digital learning and we are fully geared up in our digital offerings to offer seamless experience to skill seekers in their skilling journey.

The National Education Policy was announced recently and reforms aim to make India a ‘global knowledge superpower’. Skill Monks is an integrated marketplace for education. It is an enabler of for diverse skill training.

At the cusp of online learning, e-courses are becoming all too popular with the current generation of students in their upskilling journeys from home.

Skill Monks seeks to democratize the access to information and connect customers with training partners under one platform, with an emphasis on quality, affordability and accessibility through their marketplace platform.

Rameswar Mandali, CEO and Founder, Skill Monks, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQINDIA Online | DATAQUEST

DQ: How is SKILL MONKS an enabler for diverse skill training?

Rameswar Mandali: Being the first of its kind, Skill Monks is India’s first integrated market place for education. It allows working professionals, graduates and students in their skilling and exam prep needs by providing career discovery options to help choose the right course and connect to the right partner on our platform by providing quality assurance in EdTech realm.

Our solutions in IT skilling and re-skilling, exam preparation and job preparation enable diverse skill development with a focus on three pillars: Quality, Affordability and Accessibility. The model is asset light and scalable, with an option to meet diverse skilling needs.

Skill Monks is one of the unique players, to offer a shield to their skilling investment by offering 100% course fee refund if quality standards are not met. With transparency at the core of the business, Skill Monk has least course fee, skill financing, choice of certification and placement assistance offered by training companies as a part of the program. Our vision is to become the preferred one-stop solution for diverse skill training and exam preparation needs in India.

Majorly, Skill Monks enables diverse skill training by partnering with training companies that offer courses under the following domains:

IT Domain: Data Science, DevOps, AWS, Cyber security, Digital marketing, Blockchain Python, Deep Learning

Government Job: Civil Services Exams, Bank Exams, SSC-CGL

Higher Studies: CAT, GATE, MAT

Study Abroad: GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and IELTS

Currently, Skill Monks caters to skilling needs in the IT,exam preparation and job preparation space addressing a market of close to 9 million skill seekers annually. While we are geared up for Study abroad programmes, the current COVID situation is not conducive and this will be launched once things improve.

The platform facilitates skill seekers learn through classroom, online sessions and also facilitates device based learning. Through our Mobile App we assist Training Companies in scheduling classes, managing course content, communication with students and managing their operations. Constant updates are also sent through the mobile app to skill seekers on the latest trends and industry developments.Mobile app also helps skill seekers to stay connected with SKILL MONKS through their entire skilling journey.

DQ: How are you connecting students with strong training institutions in India providing quality training in the IT realm – Data Science, DevOps, Python, Web Dev, etc.

Rameswar Mandali: After the emergence of Covid-19, we have noticed an increased demand in the skilling environment with a huge interest in IT Domain courses like Cyber security, AWS, DevOps, Data science and Digital Marketing. This is reflective in our partnership with leading training companies that provide the best industry specific courses which help working professionals, graduates at large and students toupskill, reskill and acquire fresh skills. We have on-boarded 100+ training companies specific to the IT domain to provide courses that are keeping pace with the latest trends and provide assistance through certification and placement.

DQ: Have there been any success stories to share, from above?

Rameswar Mandali: Overall, on our platform, it can be seen that 25% of skill seekers take up Cyber security courses and40% are taking up Data Science. We are enabling these individuals by connecting them with the best in class cyber security programmes which offer placement assistance. We have also partnered with training companies which offer best in class certification programs in Data sciences which enhances deep learning and opens up new job opportunities. Our tie-up with some of the leading skill financing companies are also helping skill seekers to avail loans at competitive rates to enrol in high quality programs.

DQ: What sort of career discovery options and proper guidance do you provide in choosing the right career path and outlining courses to support it?

Rameswar Mandali: With roughly 8 million students graduating in India, 5 million need guidance in discovering the right career path, Skill Monks is addressing this pressing need, aiming to aid them in their career discovery by connecting aspirants to the right Training Companies that provide quality courses. Aligned with our vision to enable skill seekers, the need of the hour is to support career discovery to help skill seekers choose the right course that canultimately enhance their job prospects.

It facilitates career discovery through Edvisers who are industry experts and subject matter specialists who guide skill seekers by offering advice on industry trends, competencies and skills they need to acquire. Edvisers help skill seekers in making the right choices. Once you firm up on your choice of course, listing of all training companies on a common platform helps easy enrolment. We have on boarded 100 Edvisers and we are constantly working on getting more Edvisers across diverse industry experience to help more skill seekers in their career discovery.

In our endeavour to offer the best to skill seekers, we have successfully conducted 10+ industry connect programs, 30 tech talk sessions and online demos over the past 6 monthswhich saw 6000+ registered users. Covid-19 has accelerated digital learning and we are fully geared up in our digital offerings to offer seamless experience to skill seekers in their skilling journey. Our Saas offerings to training companies are state of the art enabling their digital transition and business automation.

DQ: Skilling is a main part that seems to be missing. Do we have enough educators in various streams? How are you helping?

Rameswar Mandali: In India, 95% of engineers are not ready for software development jobs accordingly to a study by Aspiring Minds. So while we are churning out a large numberof engineers, they lack the requisite skill to secure the rightjob. For the emerging industry demands and trends there is a short supply of quality educators which is a larger problem coupled with the infrastructure and curriculum which colleges currently offer.

The existing skilling infrastructure is still not adequate and up to the mark which is clearly reflective in the concerns that recruiters have while hiring students from college. They have to undertake significant investments in training fresh recruits so that they possess the necessary skills and are made aware of the functioning of essential systems to thrive in the workplace. The employability of young Indian students is not nearly as high as it should be because of the glaring gap between the skills and education imparted to them at educational institutions, and the actual skills required to get absorbed into the market.

Due to this demand and supply gap, educational institutions must create opportunities and support educators who can help students build diverse skills in tandem with the current demands of the job market. As digitisation makes inroads in the Indian market, there is an urgent need for educators in therealms of programming, coding, data science, cyber security, digital marketing, etc.

One of the bigger challenges lies in pedagogy which is in the approach to teaching. Academicians need to embrace the new ways of digital learning. New ways of learning is just not about online teaching but is more about delivery of content. Approach has to be focused on shorter duration and capsule based learning for better impact.

The focus has to be more of enablement, rather than lecturing. Online learning brings in its own set of challenges driven by limitations when it comes to experiential learning, one therefore needs to look at alternate options to bring in simulation to replicate learning’s which are lab based.

Considering the plethora of information available on the internet, academicians should be willing to expose students to study material exclusive of the curriculum in addition to encouraging them to engage in more self-study so as to make the whole process of teaching and learning more holistic. Focus has to be on digital transition as a part of change management. They also need to bring relevant content and offerings in line with market requirements and industry trends.

We, at Skill Monks are addressing some of the gaps by helping skill seekers in their career discovery, helping them choose the right courses which cater to the industry demand. By offering courses which have a right blend of concepts with use cases and backed by internships we are trying to address the industry academia gaps.

We are striving hard to create a transparent learning ecosystem focused on quality assurance through our core pillars of Quality, Accessibility and Affordability. We also stay connected through Mobile app with the skill seeker and provide them with relevant updates and job trends. Our platform offers intelligence capability to use skill seekers learning information for future recommendations and also provide corporate connect. Our vision is to be a one stop solution for all skilling needs.

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