CHENNAI: Before we met entrepreneur Shveta Raina, founder, Talerang, an organisation that nurtures and develops the skills of youngsters in achieving a workready India, we chanced upon her TEDx talk. She comes across as an entrepreneur with a difference; someone who is prepared for what comes her way. On the sidelines of the Chennai chapter’s launch, Shveta, a graduate of the Harvard Business School, tells us what it takes for young graduates to step into the real world.
Excerpts follow. What led you to launch Talerang?
I spent my undergraduate years trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I travelled, did internships, and worked at McKinsey. Working for Teach For India, was my awakening moment. I met students from different campuses and saw that they were confused about their choices. They weren’t job ready. Hence, Talerang was born.
Why is there a looming employability and work readiness crisis in the country? There are several aspects to ‘why?’.
Students are forced to follow other people rather than to drive their own career. There is a lot of competition today and it’s important that students know themselves first. Most people apply for 20 jobs in different sectors. You can’t do that when you are looking to build a career. Clarity is the key. Secondly, colleges don’t have structured placement cells that work on getting the students career ready.
You said clarity is key. How does Talerang approach this?
We have several modules to train students. One of them is personal awareness, where we help them figure out what they want to do and who they are. It transforms them and looking at it has been gratifying.
What are your plans in Chennai?
We have already visited colleges like Loyola, WCC, SIET, Gurunanak and IIT-M. So far our experience has been positive.
The colleges, mentors, and students have received it well. Once the students are trained, we will connect them to right opportunities.
Is the gap between expectation of recruiters and skills of students widening?
It’s steadily widening. From working smart, to punctuality, ownership and to even the way they dress and conduct themselves are taken into consideration.
Does gender gap playing a role in employability crisis?
Though companies give a higher rating for women interns, there definitely is a gender gap. About 20 per cent women want to take a career break at some point. We are talking about young women, in their early 20s here. So, getting women to think of their career in a long term is important.
How can students in Chennai get better career opportunities? Chennai has a huge potential.
The institutions are welcoming to new ideas and are looking to nurture their students in the best way possible. But, they have to become more aggressive and put themselves on the map. There is a lot of rich heritage and history behind each of these institutions, but nationally the awareness is less. Creating awareness about the institution will attract more recruiters, from across the country.